Capital | Andorra La Vella
Area | 268 SQ KM
Population | 83,888 (July 2009 est.)
Official language | Catalan
Holidays | Our Lady of Meritxell Day, 8 September (1278)
Currency | Euro
Time Zone | UTC +1
Best Time to Visit | The ski season is from December to March
Connecting with the Culture | Skiing at Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig, Soldeu-El Tarter and La Massana. Wandering the narrow cobblestone streets between stone houses in the Barri Antic (Historic Quarter), in Andorra la Vella. Relaxing at Caldea- an enormous complex of pools, hot tubs and saunas fed by matural thermal springs, enclosed in what looks like a futuristic cathedral. Hiking around the hamlet of Llorts, set amid fields of tobacco and backed by near pristine mountains.
Read | Andorra by Peter Cameron, a darkly comic novel set in a fictitious Andorran mountain town. Approach to the History of Andorra by Lidia Armengol Vila is a solid work published by the Institut d’Estudis Andorrans.
Listen | classical violinist Gerard Claret
Watch | Dies d’Hivern (Days of Winter) directed by Andorran Josep Duran, about a band of young delinquents on a voyage of self-discovery
Eat | trinxat (bacon, potatoes, and cabbage) or escudella (a stew of chicken, sausage and meatballs)
Drink | mulled red wine to which lemon, apple, cinnamon, raisins and cognac are added
In a word | Hola (hello)
Characteristics | Ski resorts; duty-free shopping, the Pyrenees; a pocket-sized princedom; tax haven
Surprises | True to logic-defying form, Andorrans are a minority in their own country, forming only about a quarter of the total population- the majority of which are Spaniards. Democratic Andorra is a ‘parliamentary co-princedom’ – and the bishop and president are joint, but largely nominal, heads of state. Until the 1950s, Andorra’s population hovered around 6000.