Andorra Driving Guide
Andorra is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Make your journey more manageable with this driving guide that contains necessary information about your upcoming trip to Andorra. You’ll see some dos and don’ts while touring and driving in Andorra. If you still don’t have a car rental, this guide also provides a car rental section made specifically for you. Are you excited to see the beauty of the Pyrenees? Read further to know more about Andorra, its people, and the country’s driving situation.
Andorra is a country that sits in between two of the most sought international destinations in the world today. The country's capital, Andorra la Vella, is the only city in this country. However, Andorra is famous for being the gateway for tourists coming to and from Spain and France.
Andorra is a tiny principality in the Iberian Peninsula that sits on top of the Pyrenees, the mountain that separates France and Spain. When you go north, you’ll go to France. If south, you’ll reach Spain. Among all countries in Europe, Andorra is the sixth smallest country with 181 square miles. Since there's a little land area in Andorra, you'll mostly see sheep farms and products like tobacco, olives, grapes, rye, wheat, and potatoes.
Aside from sceneries, you can also enjoy the comfort of restaurants and cafes in Andorra. Being a tourism-based country, you'll see many establishments that mainly cater to tourists. In terms of accommodation, you'll enjoy 360 views of Andorra's picturesque scenery wherever you stay. If you go to other countries, you'll be paying a lot for a scenic room. In Andorra, that's just normal.
The main languages of Andorra are Catalan, French, and Spanish. If you neither speak any of these languages, English is also accepted in Andorra. But if you know a little bit of Spanish, you’ll surely enjoy communicating with the Andorrans. When driving around Andorra, drivers are polite and respectful. They’re not aggressive on the road as well.
Among all countries in Europe, Andorra is the sixth smallest country with 181 square miles. Since there's a little land area in Andorra, you'll mostly see sheep farms and products like tobacco, olives, grapes, rye, wheat, and potatoes. With its location, Andorra is predominantly occupied by rugged mountains, the highest of the Coma Pedrosa at 2 942 meters.
Documents revealed that during the 7th and 2nd centuries BC, inhabitants of the valleys were associated with the Iberians and located historically in Andorra. The principality was under the Roman Empire from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD, until the Roman Empire’s fall. Andorra became under the Visigoths, the Kingdom of Toledo, and from the Diocese of Urgell.
Andorra’s independence is traditionally attributed to Charlemagne, who recovered the principality from the Muslims in 803, and to his son Louis I (the Pious), who granted the inhabitants liberty. Andorra’s dual allegiance to two princes, one in France and one in Spain, started in the 13th century. Today, Andorra is a diarchy ruled by two princes: the President of the French Republic and the Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain.
Being a country that breaks two culturally-diverse groups of people, Andorra's form of government is a diarchy. Two prominent world leaders co-lead Andorra, and they are called the Co-Princes of the Principality of Andorra. The Bishop of Urgell and the President of France are the princes that lead the principality—a treaty that spans back to 1278. Today, Joan Enric Vives Sicília (Bishop of Urgell) and Emmanuel Macron (French President) sit as the Co-Princes of Andorra.
Though the Co-Princes are the Head of State, they do not have the government's supreme power. The Executive Council of Andorra, the executive branch of the Andorran Government, retains maximum government power. Andorra's current Prime Minister is Xavier Espot Zamora. Since the 1993 Constitution of Andorra, the Prime Minister has served its function as a real country leader. The Co-Princes were mainly retained for ceremonial purposes.
The World Tourism Organization recorded about ten million visitors accommodated by Andorra in 2019. Though Andorra is small, this beautiful mountain country is a tourist magnet because of its low to nonexistent customs and business taxes. So if you want to shop, you better visit Andorra because the goods are cheaper. Andorra is popularly known as an "International Center for Retail Trade."
Andorra is famous for its skiing areas. Though Andorra is a tiny country, you’ll find several ski resorts here. Aside from skiing, you can also enjoy shopping centers, restaurants, and activity areas inside the resorts. Aside from that, Andorra is also your gateway to France and Spain. If you rent a car in Spain, you can have a long road trip by taking Andorra to the Granada driving route.
Visiting Andorra isn’t complete if you can’t freely go around the country. Yes, riding public transportation is part of the journey. But, having a car can have its comforts. You might ask, “does Andorra require an International Driving Permit?” Yes! You need to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) before driving a vehicle and entering the Andorran borders via car.
An IDP is your key to a safe and worry-free trip to Andorra. Whether you’re driving from Andorra la Vella to Madrid or Paris, having an international driver’s permit breaks country barriers. So, why not get one? If you want to know more about this, read ahead so that you’ll have a smooth trip to Andorra.
Does Andorra Require an International Driving Permit?
Yes, you need an IDP to drive in Andorra. However, do remember that you still need to bring your original license. Obtaining an IDP alone is not enough because it is merely a translation of your original license. Thus, if you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra in summer, don’t forget to present your IDP or E.U. license when crossing borders. You don’t want problems with border patrol.
With an IDP, driving from Barcelona to Andorra will be worry-free. If a traffic officer calls your attention, show them your original license accompanied by your IDP. Also, you don’t need to explain to them the nature of the IDP. The IDP translates your native driver's license into 12 languages. If a traffic enforcer of another country that doesn't speak your language will ask for your native driver's license, you can use your IDP to translate it for them.
What Countries Recognize IDP?
An International Driver’s Permit is valid to over 150 countries and territories worldwide. So if you are planning to drive to another country after Andorra, you can always do that, given that your IDP is still valid. You can only use the IDP when traveling abroad. Unfortunately, you also can’t use it as a “substitute” for your original license.
For example, you have an Indonesian license and an IDP, and you’re going on a vacation to Andorra. If you decide to rent a car in Andorra, the car rental company can accept your Indonesian license and the IDP. However, if you forgot your native driver’s license, you can’t use the IDP as a substitute. Thus, at police checkpoints, you better present your real license, or else you’ll encounter problems.
How Long Is an IDP Valid?
The validity of an IDP depends on the application price. But if you read the amended 1968 Convention, IDPs should not be valid for a period longer than three years. Thus, the most extended IDP application package you avail of is right for three years only. However, there are also one-year and two-year packages as well.
Choosing the validity period of your IDP depends on your purpose. If you plan to go overseas at least twice a year for the next three years, a three-year IDP works best for you. However, a one-year IDP is practical if you don’t have plans going abroad for the next three years. But if you frequently go on business representation trips or seminars abroad, you must have a three-year IDP.
Is My Local License Valid in Andorra?
Your license’s validity depends on where you come from. If you plan to stay in Andorra—for tourists, having a European Union driver’s license or an IDP to drive in Andorra. So if you come from the 27 member states of the European Union, your local license is valid in Andorra. However, if you’re planning to stay longer, Andorra allows you to exchange your local non-E.U. license for an Andorran license. But, this is limited only to the following countries:
- United Kingdom
Take note that you can only exchange your native license after acquiring a residency permit. Also, you only have six months to process this exchange.
Renting a Car in Andorra
Do you ever dream of driving to Andorra from Barcelona in May with the Mediterranean warmth and Andorran sunshine? That would certainly give you a nice tan. But before you imagine a scenic trip to the mountainous escapes of Andorra, do you have a car already? Well, you need to figure that out fast. Traveling by car is a great way to discover the hidden beauty of Andorra. Thus, here is some useful information about car rentals in Andorra.
Car Rental Companies
You can rent a car in Andorra in two ways. First, you can book online before your trip. Alternatively, you can visit local car rental companies in Andorra La Vella city proper or their branches in nearby towns in Spain and France. To make things easy for you, here are some car rental companies available in Andorra and nearby areas:
You can book online car rental websites as a more convenient option. There are also local car rental companies that offer more affordable car rentals if you're on a budget. Most of the time, tourists stop by in Spain or France to rent a car, then go to Andorra. If your plane lands at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport in Barcelona, you can rent a car at the airport, then proceed to Andorra. Driving from Barcelona to Andorra takes about three hours.
When renting a car, you should bring important documents with you. To avoid unnecessary delays, you should check the car rental website beforehand. But, here are some of the standard requirements:
- Valid driver’s license
- International Debit or Credit Card (e.g., Visa, Master, Amex)
You may just prepare images of your driver’s license, IDP, and your passport’s ID page for online bookings.
Car rental companies in Andorra can offer different kinds of vehicles for your needs. If you check online booking sites, vehicles differ in seating capacity and car size. There are small cars with a seating capacity of four people. If you’re traveling with a group, there are also nine-seater minivans for large groups. The types of vehicles also differ depending on your need. An SUV is ideal for long drives. For example, the driving distance from Andorra to Pamplona is 472.4 km via AP-2 highway. Approximately, that’s a five-hour drive. Choosing an SUV is your best option.
However, if you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra and France, you should select your comfortable vehicle-type. The highway from Spain to Andorra is straight. So, it would be a smooth drive. But, the route from Andorra to France is curvy. You should take caution in the blind curves and sharp curves. In this case, it’s best to choose your comfortable vehicle type. If you’re a sedan user back in your country, get a sedan by all means. The type of car you choose is important, especially when you encounter switchbacks on those high-altitude roads.
Car Rental Cost
The car rentals’ fees depend on the rental period, type of car, seating capacity, and payment method. Additional fees may apply if you wish to add insurance coverage. Driving to Andorra during the winter can be a handful, so better ask your provider to have one as part of your add-on. In general, here are the price range for a one-week rental period:
- Small four-seater cars, €200 - €260
- Medium five-seater cars, €270 - €750
- Five- to nine-seater minivans, €610 - €850
You also have to consider drop-off and pick-up fees on your rental package. There are no direct flights to Andorra. It’s either you land in Spain or France. The closest airport would be the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport in Barcelona. You may request the car rental service to send the car to the airport. For tourists from France, the Toulouse to Andorra driving time is faster than those coming from Perpignan.
The drive age requirement for Andorra is 18 years old. But if you’re from France and planning to visit Andorra, you should have an unrestricted license. In France, the driving age is 15 years old with supervision and 18 years without supervision. So if you’re below 18 and you’re taking the Toulouse to Andorra driving route, it’s best to let an 18-year-old hold the wheel.
Though France allows you to drive, you’ll be forced to switch with an 18-year-old before reaching Andorran borders. There would be no special driving age requirements for tourists from Spain since both countries have the same driving age.
Car Insurance Cost
Car insurance coverages depend on the car rental company. For example, Avis Car Rentals offer €1,200 insurance for damages to the integrity of the vehicle. However, there is additional insurance coverage for an extra fee. You may avail of these insurance packages as a safety precaution when something terrible happens. But, if you’ll be purchasing additional insurance, you should at least choose packages that protect you against collision damage or partial or full loss due to theft.
Car Insurance Policy
For collision damage, you need to sign a Collision Damage Waiver to release you from the liability arising from collision damages. So if you’re driving to Andorra and a truck hit your car, the rental company can’t ask you to pay for the damages unless the parts damaged are not included in the waiver. For damages, the waiver will usually state the items covered in the rental insurance. But, damages to the following are shouldered by the lessee of the vehicle:
- Windows and mirrors
- Wheels and tires
- The car’s interior
- Flat battery
For theft protection, insurance coverages for full or partial theft differ per country. For Andorra, basic loss damage protection applies. Thus, if you’re driving from Andorra La Vella to Madrid and someone stole your car during a short stopover at a gas station, the car rental company will replace your vehicle. Unfortunately, all the valuables in the stolen car are not included in the loss of protection insurance.
The Road Rules in Andorra
When visiting any country, you should take the time to know the basic driving laws and regulations to avoid fines and penalties while on a trip. If you live in Europe, you’ll be familiar with the driving scene in that area, including Andorra. However, tourists coming from the Asia Pacific and the Americas need to know basic driving laws. To save you some time, here are some things to remember:
Visiting a foreign country like Andorra requires you to observe general driving standards to avoid accidents and delays on your trip. If you’re unsure how to drive on foreign roads, you must follow the utmost diligence in speeding and alerting road signs. Below are some essential regulations that you need to observe in Andorra.
Bear in mind that it’s okay to drink and drive in Andorra. But if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is above 0.05 percent, it’s best to let the intoxication subside first. Remember, you’re in a foreign country. Don’t cause trouble with Andorran authorities because it would only ruin your vacation. In Andorra, they’ll charge you a fine if they caught you driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. BAC levels beyond the allowable will be fined accordingly:
- from 0.05% to 0.08%, a fine of € 150
- from 0.081% to 0.12%, a fine of € 300
- above 0.12%, a fine of € 600 and suspension of license for three months
Refusal to undergo a BAC test will result in another fine of € 300 and suspension of license for three months. Moreover, the driver will pay a fine of € 600 and suspension of license for three months if proven to be under drugs’ influence.
Turning Signals at an Intersection
Turning your signals while on the road is your way of communicating with other drivers. This is to ensure that you are clearly understood by other drivers when making a change. Before doing so, you need to position your vehicle into the proper turning lane and then signal to alert drivers that you are about to turn. Turning signals can also be useful when overtaking, making turns at junctions or intersections and roundabouts.
Upon reaching your destination, park on allowed spots only. At night, park only in well-lit car parks. Pay attention to parking rates so that you’ll not be surprised with your parking fees. Bring your valuables with you and secure your vehicle before leaving. Also, beware of local signage and restrictions as parking fines are readily issued, and your vehicle can be towed if parked dangerously.
Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving
You should be well-rested and not intoxicated. If you have eyesight problems, don’t forget to wear your prescription glasses. Check your vehicle, especially the tires, battery, brakes, and engine. Go to the gas station for a quick refill. If you’re still sleepy due to an early drive, buy a cup of coffee to make you feel alert.
If you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra in winter, you need to use a winter tire, or the local authorities will reprimand you for entering the borders. To know more about road incidents, click this to see live updates from Andorra’s transport department. Before starting your journey for the day, you must also check if you have the following equipment. A fine of €30 will apply if you don’t have these items:
- Spare bulbs
- Warning triangle
- Reflective jacket
- Spare wheel and tools
- Winter tyres and snow chains
Driving in winter in Andorra means loads of snow on the road. So, make sure you're rental car is equipped with winter tyres and snow chains.
General Standards of Driving
Apart from the rules, you also need to be familiar with the general standards when driving in a foreign country. This will guide you to know more about the locals and what they commonly use and do when driving on foreign land. About eighty percent of cars sold in Europe have a manual transmission. One good reason for this is its topography. Europe’s countryside roads are narrow and hilly with bumpy terrains, and the city roads are curvy and crowded.
And Andorra is no exception to that. Manual transmission cars provide a more comfortable driving experience, especially on hilly roads, which requires higher maneuverability. While it will still depend on how you will use your car rental in Andorra, it is best to contact your car rental provider first. If you are not comfortable with using a manual transmission car, you can request an automatic one.
Andorran speed limits differ in the location. For urban areas and the main road, the speed limit is 50 kph (31 mph). Since there are more people and cars in urban areas, you should exercise diligence in speeding up. As much as possible, drive slowly and enjoy the beautiful sights of Andorra.
For rural areas, you can speed up to 90 kph (56 mph). Rural areas have lesser people and cars. Usually, roads are free, and there are fewer houses in rural areas. Thus, if you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra, you’ll most likely enter Andorra's rural areas before reaching Andorra La Vella.
Seat Belt Laws
Andorra has stricter seatbelt laws than other countries in Europe. All passengers at the front seat are required to wear seatbelts all the time. A rear seat passenger is encouraged to wear seat belt. Small children under ten years and with heights under 1.5 m can’t travel unless a child’s car seat is installed at either the front or rear seats.
The child car seat must comply with UNECE Regulation No. 44. If you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra and France via car and an officer caught you traveling with a child without a car seat, you’ll pay a fine of €90.
When driving at intersections, when you see a vehicle already waiting at an intersection before you get there, then you must yield to the vehicle in waiting. In the case of two cars approaching the intersection simultaneously, the one crossing from the right side must come first. And when turning left on intersections, you can only do so if you use your turn signal 30 meters before reaching the intersection.
When driving on roundabouts or merging into a highway, the vehicle that has made a full stop on a side street before merging has the right of way. The vehicles within the roundabout must also pass first before you proceed. Also, when overtaking, make sure to do it on the left side, and before doing so, see to it that you have enough space to overtake.
Traffic Road Signs
Traffic road signs are available to guide every Andorra driver. The driving directions to Andorra tourist spots can be a hassle if you’re not good at directions. Paying attention to the common traffic road signs is essential to avoid losing your way, breaking any law, or being involved in accidents. Other than that, Andorra also follows a three-color traffic light. Here are some traffic signs you will see while driving in Andorra.
Priority signs indicate who has the priority and who should give priority. During intersections, these are the commands in which vehicles must come first. Check out the list below.
- Give Way/ Yield
- Priority Road
- End of Priority Road
- Give Way to oncoming traffic.
- Priority over oncoming vehicles
Warning signs alert drivers of a potentially dangerous traffic situation ahead that might require vehicles to stop or slow down. Here are some warning signs you will see when driving in Andorra.
- Give Way Ahead
- Stop Ahead
- Traffic Signals Ahead
- Roundabout ahead
- Two-way traffic ahead
- Junction with a minor road
- Merging traffic
- Road narrows on both sides
- Dangerous crosswinds
- Steep descent
- Steep ascent
- Road hump ahead
- Uneven road ahead
- Slippery road surface
- Pedestrian crossing ahead
- Snow or ice
- For likely
- Tunnel ahead
- Domestic animals
- Wild animals
- Accident area/ accident ahead
- Roadworks ahead
Mandatory traffic signs are used in setting obligations of all traffic that uses a particular road. These signs impose an obligation that drivers must comply with.
- Straight ahead only
- Proceed right only
- Turn right head only
- Pass on this side
- Pass on either side
- Bicycles only
- Bicycles and pedestrians only
- Equestrians only
- Pedestrians only
Right of Way
Andorra is a signatory of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. According to Annex 2 Priority of Passage, you have the right of way if you’re coming from the left side. For a four-way intersection, a first-come, first-serve basis applies. The first car to arrive gets the right of way. If two vehicles arrive side-by-side, the right of way belongs to the vehicle farthest to the right. In the case of three cars, the farthest vehicle to the left should wait until the other two vehicles have passed.
Vehicles arriving head-to-head should use signals. If two cars come head-to-head and both intend to turn in the same direction, the right of way belongs to the vehicle turning right. This is otherwise known as the ‘right-over-left’ rule. If you arrive at a four-way intersection without traffic lights, wait for the first vehicle to turn. To be safe, don’t be the first vehicle to turn. However, there are adequate road signs and traffic lights in Andorra.
Legal Driving Age
The legal driving age in Andorra is 18 years old for all types of vehicles. Whether you’re driving a moped or sedan, you need to be at least 18 years old. Why is this important? It’s because France allows individuals below 18 to drive a moped. So if you visited France then went to Andorra, you might forget about the driving age requirements.
Laws on Overtaking
Yes, there are laws about overtaking in Andorra. When driving in Andorra, overtaking is generally allowed but subject to the following limitations:
- Overtaking vehicles should give proper signals (e.g., blinking lights, horns) to the car in front
- Don’t overtake if there’s no sufficient leeway
- If there’s little visibility, don’t proceed to overtake any vehicle
- Exercise restraint and caution when overtaking in urban and interurban areas. Only overtake when there’s a lot of freeways
Just like two-thirds of the countries around the world, you drive on the right side of the road. Thus, cars in Andorra have their steering wheel on the left. If you come from a left-hand traffic country like Australia, you’ll have a hard time driving a car with the steering wheel on the right.
Apart from the rules mentioned above, you have to know how to deal when answering a phone call while driving. Read below to learn more.
Can I use my Mobile Phone While Driving?
The use of a mobile phone while driving is not allowed. It drives your attention away from the road, which may cause accidents and fatalities. So, refrain from answering messages or calls when driving. As much as possible, only answer important calls and pull the car to the side. The use of a hands-free device is allowed, but it's still better to avoid answering calls when driving to keep your focus on the road.
Holding your mobile phone while driving is not allowed in Andorra. Doing so and if you are caught will lead you to have a penalty of €20. However, you can answer important calls, but you have to use the hands-free system. If it’s not feasible, then you can park somewhere safe and navigate through your mobile phone.
Driving Etiquette in Andorra
There will be times when you will encounter difficulties and problems while staying in Andorra. Since you’re on the road most of the time, expect that there will be minor to major car problems. Also, you’ll be asking locals for directions. So, remember to be respectful and courteous. Try to speak basic Catalonian words so that Andorrans will appreciate your efforts in communicating with them.
Car breakdowns can be a disappointment in your travel, especially if you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra in summer when the heat is unbearable. Once you detect engine trouble or tire deflation, slow down and turn on the hazard lights. The hazard lights will inform other vehicles of a car breakdown. Slowly pull off the road and park at the farthest side so that you’ll not interrupt the traffic. Before going out of the vehicle, wear your reflective vest.
After parking your car, put the warning triangle on the side of the traffic lane. The warning triangle can signal oncoming vehicles that there’s car trouble ahead. Once everything settles down, call the car rental service. If you availed of a roadside support package, wait for the personnel to arrive at the scene. If the breakdown happened at the Andorra La Vella driving route, you might politely ask the locals for help.
Once you get past the borders, your Andorran journey begins. But, you may still experience police stops within the country. Whether it’s a traffic violation or a misunderstanding, always cooperate with the local authorities. When you get pulled over by the police, here’s what you need to do:
- Slowly pull over to the side of the road.
- Turn on your hazard lights to signal other vehicles to slow down.
- Present necessary documents like a passport(s), driver’s license, and IDP.
- Wait for the officer’s instructions.
- Cooperate if they want to speak with you at the precinct.
Driving directions to Andorra can be hard, but asking for directions is harder. The official language of Andorra is Catalan, but English, French, and Spanish are widely spoken. First, try to communicate in English. If the local can’t understand, ask if he can understand French or Spanish. Here are some essential words and phrases for your trip:
- Excuse me
- Perdoni! (Catalan)
- Excusez-Moi (French)
- Perdóneme (Spanish)
- I don’t understand
- No ho entenc (Catalan)
- Je ne comprends pas (French)
- No entiendo (Spanish)
- Do you speak English?
- Que parla anglès? (Catalan)
- Parlez-vous l’anglais? (French)
- ¿Habla usted Inglés? (Spanish)
- I speak a little bit of …
- Parlo una mica de català/francés/de castellà (Catalan)
- Je parle un peu de catalan/espagnol/français (French)
- Hablo un poco de catalan/francés/español (Spanish)
- L’aeroport (Catalan)
- L’aéroport (French)
- El aeropuerto (Spanish)
- El centre comercial (Catalan)
- Le centre commercial (French)
- El centro comercial (Spanish)
- El lavabo (Catalan)
- Les toilettes (French)
- El inidoro (Spanish)
- L’hotel (Catalan)
- L'hôtel (French)
- El hotel (Spanish)
You will pass police stops when driving from Barcelona to Andorra or from Toulouse to Andorra. These police stops are border patrol officers that monitor the foreigners entering and from Andorran, Spanish, and French. When passing border patrols, you need to observe proper etiquette.
Greet the border patrols and show them all necessary documents like a passport, driver’s license, and IDP. If they ask questions, answer them politely. Try to speak slowly as well if they’re not fluent in English. You can use a translator app to make your conversation easier. Sometimes, Spanish border patrols will request you to open your car’s back compartment. Allow them to check it to avoid problems.
Accidents can also happen on the road, no matter how careful you may be in driving. Read more below for things you need to do in case of accidents.
What will I do if I Get Involved in an Accident?
You have to assess the situation first, and if there are injuries, you need to call for an ambulance (116). The police (110) must also be on the accident scene to document what happened. The police report can come in handy for insurance damage claims. Remember not to leave the scene unless you need to go to a hospital for additional treatment.
Driving Conditions in Andorra
Driving on a foreign road could be a challenge, so knowing the necessary driving conditions can come in handy. This will help you be on top of your travel and be mentally prepared for what's ahead in your trip to Andorra. Understanding the driving conditions makes you more alert when driving in Andorra.
Though Andorra is a small country, there are also road accidents in this little country. However, most accidents occur on the highways going to and from France and Spain. There are only a few accidents in the city proper since motorists are cautious when driving in the city. Considering that Andorra welcomes a lot of tourists, city drivers do not overspeed in urban areas.
So when you see police stops when driving from Barcelona to Andorra, there must be a car accident along the major highways on the way to the city. When you encounter accidents, don’t engage and call the authorities for proper response. Drive slowly when you see police lines and cars blocking the lanes.
Most vehicles in Andorra are roughly the same as the ones you’ll see in France and Spain. If you’re renting a car, you can choose a sedan or an SUV. For larger groups, there are large SUVs and minivans. If you’re driving to Andorra from Barcelona in May, many drivers prefer sedan cars because it’s more aerodynamic than SUVs.
But in Winter, you should choose SUVs because snow can go an inch deep on rural roads. In terms of car brands, you can rent any car brand at most rental companies. You can even rent luxury car brands like Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, BMW, and Tesla. So if you’re taking the Andorra to Granada driving route, you can drive in style with these luxury brands.
There are no toll roads in any driving directions to Andorra tourist spots, particularly inside its territories. However, you will encounter toll roads in Spain and Italy leading to Andorra. Driving directions to Andorra can either be coming from France or Spain. That’s why if you’re planning to visit France on your trip to Spain, driving from Barcelona to Andorra and France via car is possible. If you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra in summer, you will use the CG-1 highway.
The driving distance from Andorra to Pamplona is 471km. The CG-2 highway is for tourists coming from France. The driving distance from Toulouse to Andorra is 184km via the N20, which is faster than the A61. For tourists coming from Paris, the travel time will be ten hours if you take Andorra to Bernac, France driving route via A10. For Spain to France road trips, you can take Barcelona to Andorra, Andorra to Bernac, France driving route.
What Is the Road Situation in Andorra?
The quality of the roads in Andorra is fair. The majority of the streets are paved, while only 27 percent are unpaved. The road quality in Andorra La Vella is also good. When driving in the city proper, you should be careful because pedestrians are everywhere, especially from July to August. Roads in Andorra are fast-paced, and you may have a hard time catching up with the road signs.
Unlike in other countries, traffic is not a significant concern in Andorra. Road conditions from Spain or France are relatively light, especially in Barcelona and Toulouse. The only challenge for tourists would be driving during winter. If you’re driving from Barcelona to Andorra in winter, you need to use a winter tire, or the local authorities will reprimand you from entering the borders. To know more about road incidents, click this to see live updates from Andorra’s transport department.
The driving culture in Andorra is pretty safe. The typical Andorra driver is polite. They put extra care in pedestrians, especially during the tourism season. When doing an Andorra La Vella driving, don’t be aggressive with other drivers. They’ll usually give you the right of way if you’re in the right position. Aside from that, Andorrans are friendly and helpful people.
When driving in Andorra, you also have to consider speed limits, night driving, and winter driving. Read more below for additional information and specific details.
What is the Unit Used to Measure Speed?
Andorra uses the metric system. If you’re from a country that uses the imperial system, you would need a converter app on your smartphone to measure distances in miles. Thus, a driving distance from Toulouse to Andorra would be 113 miles. If converting to miles makes travel time estimation comfortable, download a converter app now because Andorrans use kph rather than mph.
Roads in Andorra are well signposted, so while driving to Barcelona and Andorra, you will not have any problems keeping up with your speed limit. Make sure to follow these speed limits. Andorra might be a small territory, but you can never get away with accidents because of speeding. So be mindful.
Is it safe to drive at night?
In case you are crossing borders and driving to Barcelona and to Andorra during the night, you need to be careful. I can get dangerous when passing through urban areas with the possibility of drivers or pedestrians under the influence of alcohol. When driving from Barcelona to Andorra and France, you expect to drive through isolated rural areas that can be dangerous because of animals crossing and poorly marked roads.
What Is the Road Situation During Winter?
Winter conditions can be harsh in Andorra since it’s located in the mountains. While the roads from Spain are relatively safe, driving to France can be challenging. If you’re taking the Barcelona to Andorra, Andorra to Bernac, France driving route during winter, you should use a winter tire since the roads can be slippery or clogged with snow.
As much as possible, bring a shovel with you in case your car got stuck in deep snow. Considering that roads in France are curvy, you need tires that can resist slippery roads. If authorities caught you leaving Andorra without appropriate tires, they’d not allow you to pass. Winter tires and tire chains are required during winter, as mandated by Andorran law.
Things to Do in Andorra
Driving and exploring in Andorra is a fun thing to do. However, there’s more to Andorra than just driving as a tourist. You can even work here and apply for a residency. Read through the next chapters on specifications and documents you need to ready if you plan to stay longer, drive and reside in Andorra.
Drive as a Tourist
All tourists are allowed to drive in Andorra. But you have to present the necessary documents so you can rent a car. Prepare documents such as a valid driver’s license, your IDP, passport, visa, and credit card to pay for your car rental purchase. Most countries from Europe might not need an IDP to drive in Andorra; however, it can come in handy to secure one. This is to ensure a smooth transaction and worry-free trip on Andorran roads.
Work as a Driver
If you find Andorra an excellent place to live and stay, you can seek employment opportunities. In Andorra, the government only issues limited work permits periodically. You can use your driving skills to provide taxi services or apply as a transport vehicle driver in industry companies. Considering that Andorra is a tourism-based country, a taxi driver’s job is advantageous, especially during peak season.
Work permits in Andorra are termed Seasonal work permits. Season work is common in Andorra, where an employee can enter Andorra the same way as a tourist, but they have to leave the country as soon as their work contract ends. Here are the requirements for securing a season work permit in Andorra.
- Valid passport with a photocopy
- One passport-size photo
- Employment contract with an Andorra-based company
- A copy of the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae
- Proof of qualifications for the position
- Birth certificate
- Marriage contract (if applicable)
- A police background check from the applicant’s country of origin
- Proof of accommodation in Andorra
- Original copy of the certificate of registration for the employer as well as a photocopy
Work as a Travel Guide
Tourism represents more than 40% of Andorra’s economy, hence creating several jobs in the tourism and services sector. Considering Andorra’s population of over 77 000, expats and Andorrans are generously needed to cater to an average of eight million visitors every year. It can come in handy if you have training and background in hospitality, gastronomy, and similar professions.
Also, familiarization of every destination is a must to exactly present each destination’s history and significance. You also have to learn Andorra’s language, Catalan, and it will be a plus if you know other languages, like English, French, and Spanish. A travel guide in Andorra can also serve as a tourist driver. The same with driving jobs, you need to secure a seasonal work permit to work in Andorra.
Apply for Residency
To be an active resident of Andorra for employment purposes, you need to stay in the country for 183 days. If you plan to offer personal driving services, you will be classified as a self-employed individual. Thus, here are the residency requirements for you:
- Purchasing or renting a property that’s 20 sqm as vouched by title or rental contract
- Apostilled documents dated within three months, including birth certificate, marriage certificate (if any), and police certificates from country of birth and country of residence if not the same.
- Government approval of foreign investment
- Company incorporation
- Deposit of at least €3000 share capital in an Andorran Bank
- Local trading license
- Work permit
- Medical examination
- Registration with Andorra’s healthcare system (CASS)
- INAF deposit of €15,000 deposit
- Ownership of at least 11 percent if you are a co-owner of an Andorran company
Other Things To Do
When working and residing in Andorra, you also have to update your driver’s license to the one issued in the principality. Read below to know the steps on how to get a license in Andorra.
How to Exchange My Driver’s License to the one Issued in Andorra?
Holders of a driver's license issued outside Andorra must be converted to an Andorran license if they plan to stay longer than a tourist in the principality. You just have to fill out a form and submit it together with other documents. Application for an Andorran driver’s license typically takes one to two days. The documents you need to process include the following:
- Medical certificate
- Recent colored photo of you with a white background
- Your driver’s license
- International Driver’s Permit if your license is not in English, Spanish, French or Portuguese
- A certificate of authentication from the Department in your home country that issued your foreign driver’s license
- A certificate that explains the categories of your driver’s license
The Top Road Trip Destinations in Andorra
Andorra is famous for its mountain slopes and sceneries. That’s why tourists down in France and Spain visit Andorra for their renowned ski resorts. Yes, there are a lot of ski resorts in Andorra. It’s not just one, but there is a handful of them in this little country. Children and ski enthusiasts can enjoy skiing on the slopes of the Pyrenees.
While professionals can take on more challenging slopes, tourists can enjoy child-friendly slopes that are safe and easy for non-skiers. Besides skiing, there are also tourist attractions, historical spots, and fantastic Catalonia restaurants in Andorra. With your rented car, visit them all and enjoy your stay in this beautiful mountain country.
This ski town comes alive during the winter and is part of the Grand Valira ski resort. Soldeu is a village and ski resort that sits in the parish of Canillo. Being one of the most famous destinations in Andorra, the village is home to bars, hotels, restaurants, and ski and snowboarding shops.
From Andorra La Vella, it will be a 25-minute driving time via CG-2.
- Take Carrer Dr. Vilanova to Av. de Tarragona/CG-1
- Follow CG-2 to Plaça del Piol in Soldeu
- Drive to Plaça del Piol
Things To Do
You can never go wrong with trying activities during winter. But Soldeu also has some historical landmarks that you should not miss. Read more below to know what these destinations are.
1. Try skiing at Soldeu Ski Resort.
The Soldeu Ski Resort is one of the famous and most sought off ski resorts in Andorra. Some people from France withstand Andorra to Bernac, France, driving time to see Andorra slopes and a view of the Pyrenees. The resort has 200 km of slopes that overlook a wide valley with blue and green slopes for beginners, children, and enthusiasts. The professionals can take the red and black turns for an extra challenge.
2. Taste traditional cuisine.
The restaurants in Soldeu offer British, European, American, and Catalonian cuisines for all tourists. You’ll indeed have a gastronomic adventure in Soldeu as well. But since you’re in Andorra, why not try Catalonian dishes for a change. They’re just a blend of French and Spanish cuisines plus the unique touch of Catalonian taste.
Aside from eating, enjoy the duty-free shopping in Soldeu and buy high-quality ski equipment available. But if you’re not into skiing, there are also other goods for souvenirs, gifting, and personal use. Due to ski resorts, there are several traditional and modern shops established in Soldeu to utilize rich tourism.
4. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Meritxell.
One of the churches you should visit is the Basilica Sanctuary of Meritxell. This church houses the country’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mertixell. Catholic tourists pay a visit to this church to pray. In 2014, Pope Francis declared the Meritxell as a minor basilica. And since then, it has been included in the Marian Route. Devout Catholics worldwide visit the Meritxell as part of a discipleship journey in all Marian sanctuaries across Europe.
5. See Sant Joan de Caselles Church.
Sant Joan de Caselles maintains its original architecture and design. Inside the church are the remains of a stucco Romanesque Majesty with a mural of the crucifixion. This 11th-century church is also a top destination for history lovers and devout Catholics. You will be in awe to see a building around since the Middle Ages. Sant Joan is only a few kilometers away from Meritxell.
Grandvalira Ski Area
Grandvalira is the only ski area that can host Alpine winter sports competitions in Andorra. They have locations in different parts of Andorra like Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo, Grau Riog, and Pas de la Casa. Each Grandvalira area in these locations offers various activities for children, adults, and professional skiers.
From Andorra La Vella, it will be a 17-minute drive via CG-2.
- Take Carrer Dr. Vilanova to Av. de Tarragona/CG-1
- Follow CG-1 and CG-2 to Carrer Prat del Riu in Canillo
- Continue on Carrer Prat del Riu. Drive to Camí de Mascaró
From Andorra La Vella, it will be a 21-minute drive via Túnel dels Dos Valires and CG-2
- Take Carrer Prat de la Creu and Av. Consell d'Europa to CG-3
- Follow CG-3, Túnel dels Dos Valires and CG-2 to Carrer Prat del Riu in Canillo
- Continue on Carrer Prat del Riu. Drive to Camí de Mascaró
Things to Do
It’s a popular destination during the winter with all sorts of winter activities offered here. However, during the summer, if you visit Andorra, never be disappointed because they also have fun activities for both seasons. Check out below to know more.
1. Cross-Country Skiing
If you are an experienced and competent skier, you are physically fit and looking for some adventure; you can try cross-country skiing. It is a new way to explore the mountain on skis and offers you a chance to enjoy the picturesque landscape from a different perspective. Of course, you have to check with ski operators so that you can be guided.
2. Try the Zipline.
If you are looking for an adventure, doing zipline here is not for the faint-hearted. This zipline is forty meters off the ground and 500 meters long, and the stunning view of “Llac del Forn” will accompany you throughout your ride. You can expect some adrenaline pumping with the zip line speed reaching up to 80 kph.
3. Visit the Igloo Hotel.
You should not miss this place when you visit Andorra during the winter. This unique hotel comprises a collection of hand-made igloos that sits at an altitude of 2 300 meters. The hotel offers a guided night walk with snowshoes, a jacuzzi, and skiing down to a cafe for breakfast. Who would not want to stay at a hotel made of snow? Expect a magical experience when staying at this igloo hotel.
4. Experience Summer Activities.
Even without snow, you’ll surely enjoy sunny Andorra. There will be hikes, fun rides, walking routes, and fantastic retreat spots for you. If you want to see the mountains’ beauty, there’ll be mountain guides to aid you in the trek. Well, if you don’t want to go up, the walking routes are perfect for you. A dedicated guide will lead you to some fantastic spots in the mountain area.
5. Explore Mont Magic Family Park.
All the activities you can think of for families, adults, and kids are already here. There are slides, mini-golf, acrojump, trampolines, archery, and so many others that children will all love. With the vast area, you can even try canoeing in the area of the lake.
Escaldes-Engordany is a parish in Andorra that sits mainly to the east of Andorra La Vella. The parish shares borders with four other parishes in the principality and borders Catalonia, Spain in the east, south, and southwest. With the parish being a small area, you can explore Escaldes-Engordany in just a day. But you can stay longer and occupy some accommodations in the parish.
- From Andorra La Vella, Follow CG-1, Ctra. de l'Obac/CG-2 and Ctra. d'Engolasters/CS-200 to Camí Font de la Closa in Escaldes-Engordany.
- Head northwest toward Carrer Dr. Vilanova.
- Exit the roundabout onto Carrer Dr. Vilanova.
- At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Av. de Tarragona/CG-1.
- Take the 2nd exit and stay on Av. de Tarragona/CG-1.
- Continue straight onto Ctra. De l'Obac/CG-2.
- Take the 1st exit and stay on Ctra. De l'Obac/CG-2.
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Ctra. d'Engolasters/CS-200.
- Turn right onto Camí Font de la Closa.
Things To Do
When you feel like you need a break from all the adventures you did at the ski resort, then this destination is for you. Read below to know more.
1. Visit the Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra
If you’re more of a cultural person, you can visit the Museu Carmen Thyssen to see the art collection of Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza. It houses some of the famous works of William Turner and Wassily Kandinsky. Tickets range from €5 to €10. When in a museum, try not to cause loud noises or unnecessary activities. Enjoy the artworks and respect the privacy of other visitors.
2. Check out the Perfume Museum
Different scents will welcome you as you enter the museum. It is essentially a display of perfume bottles from Ancient Egypt until today. There is an introductory video explaining the origin of perfume-making. It is not just your usual museum visit since the Perfume Museum is designed to be interactive in a way that you can mix four different essences to make your scent using a scent-making machine.
3. Appreciate Art at Centro de Arte de Escaldes-Engordany
The museum displays a collection of models of Romanesque art and temporary exhibitions. The building itself is a clear example of Andorra’s granite architecture by Catalan Architect Celestí Gusí between 1932 and 1934. On the second floor of the museum are temporary exhibitions and a cultural program for visitors.
4. Explore Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley
Though this valley can be accessed on foot, you can’t miss this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley offers a clear perspective of how people harvested the Pyrenees’ resources over the years. It can be a long hike, but the valley has dramatic glacial landscapes, high open pastures, and steep wooded valleys. It has houses, summer settlements, terrace fields, stone tracks, and evidence of iron smelting.
5. Join in Andorra’s International Jazz Festival
In July, when visiting Andorra, join the fun at Escaldes-Engordany. The entire town joins the celebration, both on and off the street. The festival attracts well-known jazz acts from around the world. You may not be into jazz or any music, but it’s great to witness how Andorrans celebrate this yearly festival.
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