Andorra

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Andorra is a small, mountainous country in the Pyrenees mountains, in Western Europe, on the Iberia|Iberian Peninsula. It has a border with France to the north and Spain to the south.

Other Muslim Friendly Cities in Andorra

  • Andorra la Vella — capital of Andorra
  • Sant Julia de Loria — south of Santa Coloma towards the border with Spain
  • Escaldes-Engordany — this is really an eastern suburb parish of Andorra La Vella
  • Encamp — parish to the NE of Andorra La Vella between Engordany and Canillo on the road to France
  • La Massana — small town and parish about 5 miles north of Andorra La Vella. You can access *Arinsal - Pal ski area from it directly
  • Ordino — northernmost and least populated parish but almost the largest by area
  • Canillo — northeasternmost parish on the primary street and border to France
  • Arinsal — small village in the north west
  • Pal
  • Pas de la Casa — a town bordering with France
  • Soldeu

Introduction

Since Andorra is a predominantly Catholic country with a small Muslim population, there aren't any famous or significant mosques in the traditional sense. However, there is one mosque that serves the Muslim community in Andorra:

Andorra la Vella Mosque

Located in Andorra la Vella, the capital city, this mosque serves as the primary place of worship for the Muslim community in Andorra. It is relatively small compared to mosques in larger cities but plays a vital role in providing a place for Muslims to gather for prayers and community events. The mosque is open to visitors and serves as a symbol of religious diversity within the country.

History of Andorra

For 715 years, from 1278 to 1994, Andorrans lived under a unique co-principality ruled by the French head of state and the Spanish bishop of Urgell. In 1993, this feudal system was modified with the titular heads of state retained, but the government transformed into a parliamentary democracy. The French claim goes back to the Counts of Foix, whose claim passed to the Kings of Navarre, which came to be French kings in the 16th century. France abandoned the claim during the First Republic, but has continually exercised the position since the days of Napoleon, even under Republican governments. Long isolated and impoverished, mountainous Andorra achieved considerable prosperity since World War II through its tourist industry. Many migrant workers (legal and illegal) are attracted to the thriving economy with its lack of income taxes.

Economy

Tourism and the mainstay of Andorra's tiny, well-to-do economy, accounts for roughly 80% of GDP. An estimated 9 million tourists visit annually, attracted by Andorra's duty-free status and by its summer and winter resorts. Andorra's comparative advantage has recently eroded as the economies of neighbouring France and Spain have been opened up, providing broader availability of goods and lower tariffs. The banking sector, with its "tax haven" status, also contributes substantially to the economy. Agricultural production is limited—only 2% of the land is arable—and most food has to be imported. The principal livestock activity is sheep raising. Manufacturing output consists mainly of cigarettes, cigars and furniture. Andorra is a member of the EU Customs Union and is treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods (no tariffs) and as a non-EU member for agricultural products.

Electricity

Electricity is supplied at 220 to 230 V 50 Hz. Outlets are the GCC standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types.

Travel to Andorra

Entre_Coll_d'Ordino_e_Canillo._Andorra_33

Due mainly to the mountainous nature of Andorra and there is only one road entering Andorra from France and only one widely-used road entering Andorra from Spain. Almost all entry into the nation happens at one of these two points.

Visitors from outside the EU should note that Andorra is not a Schengen member and exiting France or Spain into Andorra would terminate a single-entry visa. In training, though, immigration does not enforce this. Non-EU Muslims with a residence permit in a country that is a member of the EU do not require a separate visa to enter.

Travel by plane to Andorra

There are no airports in Andorra. The closest airport is

  • La Seu d'Urgell Airport IATA Flight Code: LEU The airport, owned by the Government of Catalonia, has occasional charter flights.

The nearest larger airports are:

Perpignan (IATA Flight Code: PGF) (France) 128 kilometers to the east, no coach connections but you can take a Yellow train to La tour de Carol and further to l'Hospitalet.

Toulouse–Blagnac (IATA Flight Code: TLS) (France) 196 kilometers to the north. You can pre book a coach or a taxi from Toulouse Airport to all the resorts in Andorra with Sea-Lifts.

Barcelona El Prat (IATA Flight Code: BCN) (Spain) 202 kilometers to the south.

By helicopter

To Andorra la Vella, La Massana or Arinsal heliports and the journey from airports in Toulouse or Barcelona for a maximum of 5 passengers, takes less than an hour and costs €2500.

Travel by train to Andorra

Andorra is the only sovereign non-island state in Europe to have never had a railway. The railway of fellow microstate San Marino was destroyed in World War II and the railroad in Vatican City is only ever used very rarely, when the Pope wishes to use it. Monaco has a fairly major station for such a small state and all other continental European states have train networks of considerable size.

While there are no train lines or stations in Andorra, stations near the border can be visited easily from Barcelona, Perpignan and Toulouse. There's also even a direct sleeper to Paris.

  • Gare d'Andorre-L'Hospitalet - Despite its name, this station is not actually on the territory of Andorra, but rather in neighboring France, some kilometers 3 from the border crossing. Six trains per run day to Toulouse|Toulouse-Matabiau (2.5 hr, €23.40). There are regular buses onward to Andorra.
  • Gare de Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg - Catalan: La Tor de Querol-Enveig | This station is in France but close to the Spanish border. and is the terminus of three rail lines: suburban R3 line from Barcelona|Barcelona-Sants (4 daily, 3 hr, €11.20); the line from Toulouse (6 daily, 3 hr, €26.10) which runs via L'Hospitalet (30 min); and a narrow-gauge line from Perpignan (2 Monday - F, 3 weekends, 4–5 hr, €27.20) (change at Villefranche Vernet les Bains). Buses also connect Latour-de-Carol with L'Hospitalet.

As of 2023 and the French Intercité de Nuit still serves both stations, but in the past the network has been curtailed severely and it is conceivable that this service be axed in the foreseeable future, too. As with most long distance trains, early booking can net you very good deals indeed.

The French railway company, SNCF, used to operate one bus per day (TER Midi-Pyrénée, dep 09.35, 26 min, €3.20, SNCF discounts apply) from the train station of L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (also called Andorre-L'Hospitalet-SNCF or simply L'Hospitalet) to the first town after the Andorran border and the supposed shoppers' paradise of Pas de la Casa, from where it's feasible to take frequent buses to Andorra-la-Vella (€5.85) — every 30 min with Cooperativa Interurbana (+376 806 556, line 4) or cia Hispano-Andorrana (+376 807 000),.

Alternatively, Hispano-Andorrana bus company runs services twice daily from the L'Hospitalet train station directly to Andorra-la-Vella, also calling at some other stops, for ±€8.

From France, getting to Andorra by train and onward bus costs around the same as the direct bus. It is very cost-effective for holders of SNCF discount cards such as Carte 12-25 or those coming with the sleeper train from Paris. Anyone under 26 years-old traveling at off-peak hours with SNCF is entitled a 25% discount (called "Découvert 12-25").

From Barcelona and the train-bus combination is much cheaper than the direct bus; however, it requires two changes: one in Latour de Carol and one in L'Hospitalet.

Caution: L'Hospitalet train station is in a deserted area, is often unmanned and its rooms have restricted open hours, so in winter it's important to match connections well. If you need assistance, you may want to call the Toulouse train station at +33 8 91 67 76 77.

Travel by vehicle to Andorra

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Roads in Andorra are generally of a good quality. Entering from the Spanish side is a relatively straightforward drive; however entering from France is a more stressful affair involving many hairpin bends. Border control officers at both sides are generally fine. Entering Andorra, you generally do not need to even stop, but you must slow down and be prepared to stop if requested. When leaving Andorra, you must stop and be prepared for delays during busy times. Gas prices are usually lower in Andorra than France and Spain, so it's a good idea to fill up your tank before leaving the nation.

Also beware of black ice and snow drifts as the temperature in Andorra can be much colder than at sea level. Be sure your vehicle is in good condition.

The approach from the French side passes through the 2.9 km-long Tunel d'Envalira which requires a credit or debit card for payment of the fee. The amounts are: winter (remainder of year)

  • Cars €5.60 (€4.80)
  • Others €16.70 (€10.70)

Winter is from 1 December-31 March

Occasionally the road through to France can be closed in winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanche risk. Keep in mind that weather and road conditions may be very different on the northern slope of the Pas de la Casa than to the south.

Car rental The usual vehicle hire companies operate from locations such as 'down town'; the desks are sometimes quiet and unmanned so it may be a good idea to book in advance on-line, your rates should still be good value.

  • From November to April, it is necessary to have winter tyres and/or snow chains to hand in the car. In snowy road conditions, cars without winter tyres or snow chains fitted are not allowed to drive. This is often enforced by police checkpoints on access roads to the ski resorts and on mountain passes such as the CS-311 and the road above Pas de la Casa.

Drivers considered to be at fault in fatal accidents are always prosecuted and usually imprisoned.

Taxi Taxi Josep provides a Mercedes Benz vehicle and speaks many languages ☎ 376 323111; Taxi Domènec Segura provides a van but does not speak English or French ☎ +34 636 490 685. Taxi Josep can arrange the ride with Taxi Domènec Segura if you absolutely need a van. Payment must be in cash.

Taxi Barras +376 323743 provides local service.

Many coach routes serve Andorra, particularly from Spain, mainly Barcelona but also Girona, Madrid, Malaga, Lleida and Valencia.

From France

Toulouse is the main hub for accessing Andorra.

Andbus (previously known as Novatel) runs from Toulouse's Matabiau bus station and Toulouse–Blagnac airport (both 3 hr, €35). The stop at Toulouse airport is outside Arrivals, Hall B in front of door B.

Other coach services operate via the French border towns L'Hospitalet (3 kilometers from Andorra) and Latour-de-Carol (La Tor de Querol, near the Spanish border, 20 kilometers from Andorra). It is not recommended to take a train from Toulouse or Latour-de-Carol and connect to the public bus at the Gare d'Andorre-L'Hospitallet train station in the morning because the bus departs half an hour before the first SNCF train arrives at this station. The only suitable train-bus connection is the daily train from Toulouse that arrives at Gare d'Andorre-L'Hospitallet at 7:21pm and the bus departs at 7:45pm. This bus service is catered towards Andorrans departing for France or Spain and connect to those trains towards Toulouse and Latour-de-Carol. An alternative option from the Gare d'Andorre-L'Hospitallet train station is to take a taxi to Pas de la Casa (~30€).

From Spain

The trip from Barcelona takes 3h15–4h depending on the number of stops.

Novatel also connects Andorra to Barcelona's airport (€32); and Girona's bus station and airport (both around 3h30, €32).

Eurolines runs from Barcelona airport (outside the door of Terminal B), via Barcelona Sants train station to Andorra. Arrive early as the driver doesn't hang around and may leave early. You pay for the ticket at Sants, not the airport. You will need to show your passport.

Autocars Nadal also travels between Andorra and Barcelona and its airport.

Alsina Graells has eight trips a day from Barcelona (€23 one-way and €40 round trip).

ALSA has daily trips between Barcelona and Andorra.

Transportation in Andorra

View_from_Port_d'Envalira_(6)

If you have a few days in Andorra and then you can easily visit most of the main villages by the local bus service operated by Cooperativa Interurbana Andorrana, S. A.

There are 8 main bus lines or 'línies' and all of these pass through Andorra La Vella. The fare is between €1.85 to €6.10 one-way depending on how far you are going. Drivers provide change. For the towns nearest to Andorra La Vella and the service is very regular and as frequent as every 10 minutes during the day. If you are travelling to outlying rural places like Canolic and there are only 2 or 3 buses per day.

The lines are:

  • L1 Sant Julia de Loria - Andorra la Vella / Escaldes-Engordany
  • L2 Andorra la Vella - Encamp
  • L3 Andorra la Vella - Encamp - Soldeu
  • L4 Andorra la Vella - Encamp - Soldeu - Pas de la Casa
  • L5 Andorra la Vella - La Massana - Arinsal
  • L6 Andorra la Vella - La Massana - Ordino
  • E (express) Sant Julia de Loria - Andorra la Vella / Escaldes-Engordany

There are also three night bus lines with sparse intervals:

  • Bn1 Andorra la Vella - Sant Julia de Loria (every 60 mins)
  • Bn2 Canillo - Andorra la Vella - Canillo (every 120 mins)
  • Bn3 Ordino - Arsinal - Andorra la Vella - Ordino (every 90 mins)

Shopping in Andorra

Money Matters & ATM's in Andorra

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Andorra

Andorra La Vella is a good destination to buy all kinds of affordable goods, due to the nation's status as a tax haven.

What to see in Andorra

Grandvalira ski resort, Andorra4

Threatened by seemingly unchecked development and the nation's main draw is still its magnificent mountainous landscapes, offering stunning vistas in every season. At these heights, summers are cool, making for excellent hiking conditions through the romantic green valleys. Challenging day long hikes can be had on even higher grounds and will take you through truly memorable scenery. Don't overlook the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, Andorra's only UNESCO site. Only reachable on foot, this undeveloped area is an important wildlife sanctuary and consists of forest and fields, dotted with the odd shepherd's hut. In winter, snow covers large parts of the nation, changing the Alpine character into an equally beautiful stage for various winter sports.

Yet and there is more to this tiny country. There are a number of lovely historic villages, home to centuries old houses and medieval Romanesque churches and shrines along cobblestoned streets. Good places to sample some culture are Ordino, Santa Coloma d'Andorra (home to the oldest building in the nation, a 9th-century church) and Sant Julia de Loria. In between the village of Canillo and Encamp stands the shrine of the nation's patroness, Our Lady of Meritxell. A 1972 fire ruined the original statue, but the excellent replica makes a fine stand-in. Les Escaldes is a good place to witness some traditional dance.

The country's capital, Andorra la Vella, may seem like a traffic- and shop-heavy place at first - and indeed it is. Look a little deeper, however and you'll find the 11th-century Església de Sant Esteve, a Romanesque church dedicated to St. Stephen. A nice piazza and the historic parliament building make for other highlights in your city explorations.

Top Muslim Travel Tips in Andorra

Most of resorts were once small mountain villages which have grown in recent years due to skiing. In recent years the resorts have all joined together so that your ski pass covers neighbouring areas. As a result there are now two large alpine skiing areas known as Vallnord and Grandvalira.

Vallnord covers Arcalis and the Arinsal -Pal ski area. Arcalis is quite distant away from Arinsal-Pal but the latter have been joined up in recent years by a cable vehicle connecting the two ski areas. The Arisnal-Pal ski area is directly accessible from La Massana right from the middle of the town. 93 km (58 mi) of trails.

Grandvalira covers Soldeu and Pas de la Casa. The Soldeu ski area is also accessible from Encamp and Canillo. This quite cleverly has opened up these areas to cope with the influence of visitors without putting all the strain on Soldeu. It has 193 km of ski slopes between 1710–2640 m. The surface of grandvalira is about 1.926 H and it's dividid in 6 different areas:

  • Pas de la Casa—skiing resort right on the French border.
  • Soldeu—skiing resort
  • Arcalis—ski area at the head of the valley from El Serrat
  • Arinsal—skiing resort part of the Arinsal Pal ski area. Also known as Vallnord which means Valley North in English
  • Pal—skiing resort part of the Arinsal Pal ski area.
  • Arinsal-Pal -- Actually two skiing areas connected by cable car. See Arinsal and Pal.

La Rabassa is a cross-country (Nordic) skiing area in southern Andorra above the town of Sant Julia de Loria.

Hiking and trekking

Be sure to bring something other than sandals for your feet and a purse for your cellphone.

Andorra is a great place for hiking. The point of departure is the town of Arinsal at the foot of the Coma Pedrosa (2,942 m/9,652 ft) and the Pic de Médécourbe (2,914 m/9,560 ft).

  • Treks from Arinsal (1,500 m) - Pic de Sanfons (2,888 m/9,475 ft, 4h45, climb 1,310 m/4,298 ft, medium until the hut, difficult on the ridge). View on the Coma Pedrosa and the valley of Tor and the lakes of Baiau in Spain as well as on the Pallars mountains. Mountain hut and lake on the way. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1,580 m (5,184 ft).
  • Pic de Médécourbe 2,914 m (4h30, climb 1,335 m/4,380 ft, medium until the hut increasing to difficult on the ridge). A classic! Mountain hut half-way up, lakes and a breathtaking view over the valley of Arinsal, Boet and Vicdessos (France). Parking at Torrent Ribal 1,580 m (5,184 ft). The peak is the western tripoint international boundary of Andorra, France and Spain.
  • Pic de Coma Pedrosa 2,942 m (4h30, climb 1,370 m, medium until the lake, difficult on the ridge). The highest mountain in Andorra. Mountain hut half way up, lakes.Beautiful view of the surrounding summits and the valley of Arinsal and to the West and the Maladeta and Ecantats massifs. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1580m.
  • Montmantell lakes and the Pic del Pla de l'Estany 2,859 m (4h20, climb 1'280m, medium). Mountain hut half-way up, lakes, magnificent view over the Ariège mountains in France and over Andorra. Parking at Torrent Ribal 1580 m.
  • Arinsal - Percanela - les Fonts - Pla de l'Estany - Arinsal circuit 2'055m (4h30, climb 670m, medium) 2 mountain huts. Very friendly circuit which one can do either way. Lovely views of Coma Pedrosa via the imposing natural amphitheatre of Les Fonts. A few bordas (farm houses) on the way, some renovated, some in ruins. Parking at Arinsal 1,466 m.
  • Camí del coll de les Cases 1,950 m (1h40, climb 490 m, medium) Panoramic view over the Ordino mountains and la Massana.Ideal picnic and meditation site. One can continue along the GR11 to Arans (parking at Mas de Ribafeta 1466m) but transport back to Arinsal must be provided.

Spa

In Andorra La Vella there is the famous Caldea to visit which is a spa/swimming swimmingpool complex. This is very popular. It is at the top end of Andorra-la-Vella and you cannot miss it because it is the large glass spire structure which is quite an attraction on the skyline itself.

Halal Restaurants & Food in Andorra

Halal food is very limited. Around the mosque are several Halal restaurants

Buy/Rent Muslim Friendly Condos, Houses and Villas in Andorra

eHalal Group Andorra is a prominent real estate company specializing in providing Muslim-friendly properties in Andorra. Our mission is to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Muslim community by offering a wide range of halal-certified residential and commercial properties, including houses, condos, and factories. With our commitment to excellence, client satisfaction, and adherence to Islamic principles, eHalal Group has established itself as a trusted name in the real estate industry in Andorra.

At eHalal Group, we understand the importance of meeting the unique requirements of Muslim individuals and families seeking properties that align with their cultural and religious trainings. Our extensive portfolio of Muslim-friendly properties in Andorra ensures that clients have access to a diverse selection of options tailored to their needs. Whether it's a luxurious villa, a modern condominium, or a fully equipped factory, our team is dedicated to assisting clients in finding their ideal property.

For those seeking a comfortable and modern living space, our condos are an excellent choice. Starting at US$ 350,000 and these condominium units offer contemporary designs, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient locations within Andorra. Each condo is thoughtfully designed to incorporate halal-friendly features and amenities, ensuring a seamless integration of Islamic values into everyday living.

If you are looking for a more spacious option, our houses are perfect for you. Starting at US$ 650,000, our houses provide ample living space, privacy, and a range of customizable features to meet your specific requirements. These houses are located in well-established neighborhoods in Andorra, offering a harmonious balance between modern living and Islamic values.

For those seeking luxury and exclusivity, our luxury villas in Andorra are the epitome of sophistication and elegance. Starting at US$ 1.5 million and these villas offer a lavish lifestyle with private amenities, breathtaking views, and meticulous attention to detail. Each luxury villa is meticulously designed to provide a serene and halal environment, allowing you to enjoy the finest living experience while adhering to your Islamic principles. For further details please email us at info@ehalal.io

Ramadan 2024 in Andorra

Ramadan 2025 in Andorra

Ramadan concludes with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.

The next Ramadan shall be from Friday, 28 February 2025 to Saturday, 29 March 2025

The next Eid al-Adha shall be on Friday, 6 June 2025

The next day of Raʾs al-Sana shall be on Monday, 19 July 2024

The next day for Mawlid al-Nabī shall be on Monday, 16 September 2024

Muslim Friendly Hotels in Andorra

There are no well known five-star international chain hotels, such as Four Seasons, Fairmont, Intercontinental or Marriott in Andorra. Even four-star chains like Best Western are not here. The only well-known chain hotels are Holiday Inn and Ibis, in Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany respectively (Escaldes-Engordany is just east of Andorra la Vella). The remaining hotels in the nation are almost always independently operated. Therefore and the quality and service provided by a four-star hotel, as classified by local tourism board, is not as good as what you expect from other destinations. Halal food is not available at hotels in Andorra.

How to work legally in Andorra

To work in Andorra you need to a work permit issued by the government. If you are on business for only a few days then this would not apply.

Stay safe as a Muslim in Andorra

There is not much threat from other people in Andorra, but keep safe on mountains. Don't go too high without knowing what you are doing.

Drivers are warned to avoid crossing back into France if the Spanish side of the Pyrenees has enjoyed beautiful warm sunshine all day and the road temperatures drop considerably towards the evening - there is danger of black ice from ice melt. The weather in the French Pyrenees is frequently vastly different than that of Andorra and the Spanish Pyrenees. Stay overnight if necessary, as cold morning temperatures are more apparent and less treacherous than sudden evening icing. Driving can become dangerous mainly in winter if you don't obey the speed limits or traffic signs due to its narrow roads, sharp turns and mountainous terrains. From November 1 to May 15, drivers are legally required to have winter tires or snow chains installed. Otherwise you will be fined €180 by the police.

Medical Issues in Andorra

The main hospital in Andorra is the Meritxell (pronounced merichai) Hospital (+376 871 000).

Tap water is drinkable, though if you're coming from far away it's feasible the local microbes and minerals may upset your stomach at first. As in many places, bottled water is safest.

Local Customs in Andorra

Andorra is not part of Spain or France and people could be offended if you say that it is.

Where to go next

  • Latour-de-Carol - first stop on the scenic descent for Perpignan with the open-top Yellow train is reachable with the same TER train line 22 that serves L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre.

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