Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Andorra la Vella is the capital of Andorra.  The capital is located high in the east Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain.  Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe with an elevation of 1,023 meters (3,356 feet).

From Barcelona it takes +3 hours on a bus to go north the 202 km (125.5 miles).

The capital only has +22,500 residents but with all of the surrounding villages the local population is +40,000.  The main industry is tourism – especially when it comes to skiing, and shopping.

Andorra la Vella has been the country's main city since 1278 and the old town has many historic streets and buildings from this time. 

The Casa de la Vall was built in 1580 as a fortified house and has been the house of parliament since 1702.

The Església de Sant Esteve (St. Stephen) church was built in the 11th century.

The Gran Valira is the country's biggest river and flows through the capital.

There are lots of very high end shops but lots of high end prices to match.  Most of the shops closed for a few hours for afternoon siestas.  To me, it's kind of odd for shops to close in a place that is known for it's shopping but, oh well.  I wasn't really there to do a bunch of shopping anyway.

Nearby is Caldea, which at 6,000 sq meters (~64,600 sq ft), is Europe's largest spa.  It would have been great to check out the spa but sadly there just wasn't enough time for it in our quick day trip.

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