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Barcelona to Andorra: 10 tips to tour 3 countries

Barcelona to Andorra: 10 tips to tour 3 countries

Barcelona to Andorra: 10 tips to tour 3 countries

This is our guide to a trip to Andorra from Barcelona.

You can see the principality of 76,000 people by rental car, long-distance bus or tour from Barcelona.

Here are our experiences with the 3 countries tour from Barcelona to Andorra .

In addition, there are our most important tips for a trip to Andorra.

1. How do I get to Andorra from Barcelona?

Andorra capital Andorra la Vella

You have enough time for the landmarks in Andorra la Vella.

There are only two real roads to Andorra, one from La Seu d’Urgell in Spain and one from Ax-les-Thermes in France.

Andorra does not have a train station. There is only one bus from Barcelona to Andorra. The journey takes 3:15 hours to 4:30 hours, depending on the bus.

The two best options for getting to Andorra are therefore a rental car or a tour from Barcelona.

There’s a tour from Barcelona that lets you see the medieval city of Bagà in Catalonia, Ax-les-Thermes in France, and Andorra’s capital, Andorra la Vella, in one day.

You drive from the French to the Spanish side through the entire principality.

You can also use the route as a template for a road trip from Barcelona to Andorra.

In the next paragraphs I describe all the sights along the route along with the most important travel tips.

Recommended: We reserved the 3 countries tour from Barcelona to Andorra with a small group with GetYourGuide.de.

Private Tour: If you prefer to go to Andorra without travelers, there is the ” Private Highlights of Andorra Tour ” as an alternative.

2. What sights are there along the route to Andorra?

Andorra la Vella panoramic view in Andorra

Panoramic view of Andorra la Vella.

Here are the waypoints of the 3 countries route from Barcelona to Andorra.

I describe them briefly in bullet points and in detail in the next paragraphs, with all the important information.

  • Bagà: You walk through the medieval town with the old city walls, stone houses and towers and have time for a break for breakfast or a coffee.

  • Spanish Pyrenees: View from the streets of the small mountain villages, with luck one of the dozens of hot air balloons in the morning and the snow-capped peaks.

  • Ax-les-Thermes: The French spa and ski resort was one of the most exclusive destinations in the Pyrenees in the Belle Époque. You walk through the center, have time to eat in a French restaurant and take a walk to the Rocher de la Vierge tower.

  • Andorra border pass: You drive over the 2,081 m high pass from the French side to Andorra. At the customs station you get one of the rarest stamps in the world in your passport.

  • Ski resorts: Drive along the ski resorts of Andorra to the capital Andorra la Vella. You can see the whole country out of the window.

  • Capital Andorra la Vella:  You have time for the sights of the capital, a meal and shopping in the tax haven.

3. Experiences driving from Barcelona to Andorra

Road France to the border of Andorra in France

Pass road from France to the Andorra border.

If you go to Andorra with the 3 countries tour, your journey starts at 7:00 in the morning next to the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona.

You will meet your guide there, in our case it was Gloria from Barcelona.

She spoke English and German.

Our small group of 15 people took a long-distance bus to Andorra. This meant there was enough space for everyone on the bus.

The approximately 90-minute journey from Barcelona to Bagà is pleasant on the dual carriageway.

After Bagà, continue 90 minutes through the Pyrenees to France.

The drive from the French side to Ax-les-Thermes is winding, with switchbacks, but a good view of the snow-capped mountain peaks.

Daria had to concentrate a bit because she quickly gets sick on such roads.

You will notice this particularly on the 60-minute walk from Ax-les-Thermes to the Duana Franco-Andorrana border post at around 2,081 m above sea level. There was still snow on the left and right of the road when we drove in spring.

Arrived in Andorra you drive on a well-developed expressway to the capital Andorra la Vella.

The return journey from Andorra to Barcelona takes 3 hours, with a stop en route at a hotel restaurant in Oliana. A free drink is included in the restaurant.

We got back to Barcelona at 19:35. The bus stopped at Plaça de Catalunya to get off.

“If you want to see the Principality of Andorra, Barcelona is the best place to do it.”

4. What can I see in Bagà?

Village of Baga in Spain

Bagà: Medieval town on the way to Andorra.

Bagà is a medieval town on the way from Barcelona towards France and Andorra.

It belongs to the region of Catalonia and used to be a trading post in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Upon arrival in Bagà you have time to purchase breakfast from the local bakery or a coffee to go from the cafe bar in the main square.

Then Gloria took us to the oldest parts of Bagà, including parts of the city walls (muralles), a 700-year-old stone church and the round tower Torre de la Portella.

Bagà is a quick stop where you can buy some food, a bathroom break and a few tales of old life in Catalonia.

You will spend around an hour in Bagà with the 3 countries excursion. That’s enough for all interesting places.

We bought a coffee to go, walked through the streets and listened to Gloria’s tour.

5. What can I see in Ax-les-Thermes ?

Ax les Thermes in France

The history of the thermal bath goes back to the Crusaders and Romans.

Ax les Thermes in France

Food, skiing and thermal springs: Ax-les-Thermes is famous for this.

Rocher de la Vierge tower in Ax-les-Thermes in France

View of the Rocher de la Vierge tower in Ax-les-Thermes.. Andorra begins behind the mountains.

Ax-les-Thermes is a thermal resort in the French Pyrenees, along the only road from France to Andorra.

There are small sulphurous thermal pools in the center where you can bathe your feet for free. The Bassin des Ladres is next to the Center hospitalier Saint Louis and one basin is on the Pl. Saint-Jérôme.

Pack a towel if you want to continue walking with dry feet.

Don’t let the name Bassin des Ladres (Leprosy Basin) put you off. The name goes back to the Middle Ages. The Crusaders came to Ax-les-Thermes after returning from the Middle East in case they contracted leprosy.

We walked through the center of Ax-les-Thermes once with Gloria. She then went to the Rocher de la Vierge tower with another part of the group.

We bought cheese, sausages and jams from France to take away and had a French cheese platter at the Couteaux Fourchettes restaurant.

You have a little more than 1 1/2 hours in Ax-les-Thermes. That’s enough for all the sights and a leisurely meal.

6. What do I see at the Andorra border?

Pas de la Casa in Andorra

Pas de la Casa at 2,081 m above sea level, just after the Andorra border post.

You drive from Ax-les-Thermes on the only road from France to the Andorra border.

The road leads to the village in Andorra, Pas de la Casa, at 2,081 m above sea level.

In the spring there was still snow next to the road and the ski areas around and in Andorra were still open.

At the Duana Franco-Andorrana border post, disembark the bus for a passport stamp and photos.

Our tour guide Gloria took care of the stamps. She collected the passports and took them to the border post. Otherwise there is not a stamp for all travelers.

The road from Ax-les-Thermes to the Andorra border is winding, with many hairpin bends.

If you get sick easily in the car, you need to focus a little. My friend Daria is prone to this. She thinks I should write that down.

Clothing: Andorra is more than 1,000 m above sea level. At the sea in Barcelona the sun shines at 25° in spring, while in Andorra la Vella it is only 10° warm. Pack a sweater and jacket in spring, fall, and winter. One participant in our group was only wearing shorts and was quite unhappy.

7. What can I see in Andorra la Vella?

Andorra La Vella in Andorra

You have time for the most famous sights and for shopping in Andorra la Vella.

Food in Andorra la Vella

Typical from Barcelona to Andorra: cheese and sausage to go.

Andorra la Vella is the highest capital of Europe at 1,011 m above sea level.

You arrive in Andorra la Vella with the 3 countries tour from Barcelona in the afternoon.

The bus stops at the edge of the old town. We first went through the main street with our tour guide Gloria for a small introductory tour.

That took about 15 minutes for the most important tips about Andorra la Vella.

You have around 90 to 120 minutes in the city. That’s enough for a walk to the old town with the old stone houses, the Case de la Vall, Church of Sant Esteve and for shopping.

Shopping is a big issue because Andorra levies low taxes on consumer goods.

You can therefore buy cheap perfumes, watches and all sorts of other things. Andorra’s currency is the euro, in case you’re wondering.

There is also enough time to eat in Andorra.

We walked through the old town, looked at a few shops and then had a coffee with a piece of cake.

Customs border: Think of EU allowances for taking purchases with you. Sellers in Andorra know the allowances, ask for them. More on Spain.Info . There are random checks. With luck you drive through, with bad luck the border guards look at your purchases.

8. Caution, roaming in Andorra!

Andorra landscape

Photo from the moving bus: Be sure to switch off your mobile data volume in Andorra.

Andorra is not part of the EU and not part of the Schengen area.

There is only one mobile network in Andorra. And the company does not participate in the EU roaming directive like some other non-EU countries in Europe.

Your free units are NOT valid in Andorra!

Turn off your cellular data a few kilometers before the Andorra border.

Gloria, our guide, warned us several times 15 minutes before the border.

Otherwise you face high costs.

Andorra has roaming fees from your third country, with costs up to €4 for just 100 KB! A single image you upload to Instagram would cost more than €10.

Because smartphones constantly synchronize e-mail accounts, social media accounts and apps, several 100 KB to several MB automatically accumulate without data roaming being switched off.

There is free Wi-Fi everywhere in the center of Andorra la Vella. You don’t need your data allowance.

Important! Turn off mobile data on your smartphone in Andorra. There is no free roaming in Andorra. 100 KB costs up to 4 €!

9. Pack your passport for a stamp!

View from Andorra towards France

View from the border post back onto the pass road from France.

Andorra is not part of the Schengen zone.

Citizens of Germany, Austria and Switzerland can enter Andorra without a visa with an identity card or a passport.

The Foreign Office writes more about this .

Pack your passport anyway, if you have one.

At the border there is a stamp in the passport with the 3 countries tour from Barcelona . Our tour guide Gloria took care of that.

You will only get the stamp if you ask.

It is one of the rarest stamps in the world that I enjoyed collecting.

“With the tour you get one of the rarest stamps in the world in your passport.”

10. Alternatives: Barcelona to Andorra by bus, train or rental car?

Bus from Barcelona to Andorra

That was our bus. You travel to Andorra with a small group in a large bus or in a minibus. That depends on how many travelers are coming.

If you want to travel to Andorra by bus or train, plan one night in the Principality.

The journey by bus from Barcelona to Andorra takes between 3:15 hours and 4:30 hours, depending on the route. There are buses that only stop once along the route. Other buses stop at 31 stations along the route to Andorra.

The best site to compare the different bus routes is Rome2Rio.com . Expect to pay around €30 for a one-way bus ticket, so €60 return per person.

With a rental car, the drive from Barcelona to Andorra takes 2:45 hours to 3 hours, depending on traffic. Expect to pay around €100 per day for the rental car and allow for a full tank of fuel for the return trip to Andorra.

The best sites to compare prices for a rental car in Spain . They have an option with them that shows you all included insurances.

There is no train from Barcelona to Andorra because there is no train station in the entire Principality.

By train you can go to the Gare d’Andorre-L’Hospitalet train station on French territory. From there, a bus takes about an hour to the capital Andorra la Vella.

The train journey to Andorra takes longer than the bus journey and is therefore not recommended.

Our opinion

Daria on the Andorra border

Daria just over the border to Andorra: If you want to see the Principality, Barcelona is the best place to go.

I hope you got a good impression of the tour from Barcelona to Andorra.

Barcelona is the best city for a trip to the Principality. There is no closer, more practical destination.

If you want to see Andorra, a trip to Barcelona with an excursion is the best opportunity.

You will spend some time on the bus, but you will see Andorra and the French part of the Pyrenees in one day.

If you want to see Andorra, we recommend the 3 countries tour from Barcelona  .

If you have any questions about the trip to Andorra, or would like to share your own tips or experiences, please let us know in the comments below.

I wish you a nice trip!

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