Andorra la Vella

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Andorra la Vella
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Location within Andorra
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Andorra la Vella
Location within the Iberian peninsula
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Andorra la Vella
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 42°30′N01°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E / 42.500; 1.500
Country Andorra
Parishes Andorra la Vella
Villages La Margineda, Santa Coloma
   Cònsol Major Conxita Marsol
  Total12 km2 (5 sq mi)
1,023 m (3,356 ft)
  Total22,256 [1]
Demonyms Andorran
andorrà, andorrana (ca)
Website Official site

Andorra la Vella ( UK: /ænˌdɔːrələˈvjə/ , US: /-lɑːˈvljə/ ; [2] Catalan pronunciation:  [ənˈdorə lə ˈβeʎə] , Spanish : Andorra la Vieja, French : Andorre-la-Vieille) is the capital of the Principality of Andorra. It is located high in the east Pyrenees, between France and Spain. It is also the name of the parish that surrounds the capital.


As of 2015, the city has a population of 22,886, and the urban area, which includes Escaldes-Engordany plus satellite villages, has over 40,000 inhabitants.

The principal industry is tourism, although the country also earns foreign income from being a tax haven. Furniture and brandies are local products. Being at an elevation of 1,023 m (3,356 ft), it is the highest capital city in Europe and a popular ski resort.


Andorra la Vella means "Andorra the Town", to distinguish it from the Principality of Andorra as a whole. [3] Although in Catalan the word vella (like French vieille) is derived from the Latin word vetula which means "old", the Vella here (like French ville and Catalan vila) is derived from the Latin word villa and means "town". [4]


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Sant Andreu Church

The site of Andorra la Vella has been settled since prior to the Christian era—notably by the Andosin tribe from the late Neolithic. The state is one of the Marca Hispanica created and protected by Charlemagne in the eighth century as a buffer from the Moorish settlers in the Iberian Peninsula. [5]

The settlement of Andorra la Vella has been the principal city of Andorra since 1278 when the French and the Episcopal co-princes agreed to joint suzerainty. Andorra la Vella's old town—the Barri Antic —includes streets and buildings dating from this time. Its most notable building is the Casa de la Vall —constructed in the early sixteenth century—which has been the state's parliamentary house since 1702. Andorra la Vella was, during this period, the capital of a largely isolated and feudal state, which retained its independence due to this principle of co-sovereignty.

Well into the twentieth century, the area around Andorra la Vella remained largely forgotten. After political turmoil in the 1930s and an attempted coup by Boris Skossyreff, an informal democracy developed.

In 1993, the country's first constitution formalised this parliamentary democracy with executive, legislative, and judicial branches located in Andorra la Vella.

During this period, Andorra also developed as a tax haven, resulting in the construction of modern banking offices in Andorra La Vella. The city also developed its skiing facilities, to the extent that Andorra la Vella was Andorra's applicant city for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, the 2010 Winter Olympics. However, Andorra la Vella was not selected by the IOC as a candidate city, following the evaluation report of an IOC commission. It also hosted both the 1991 and 2005 Games of the Small States of Europe.


Andorra la Vella is located in the south west of Andorra, at 42°30′N1°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E / 42.500; 1.500 , [6] at the confluence of two mountain streams, the Valira del Nord (Northern Valira) and the Valira de l'Orient (Eastern Valira), which join to form the Gran Valira. It adjoins the urban area of Escaldes-Engordany. The city is at 1,023 metres (3,356 ft) above sea level.


Andorra la Vella has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb), with warm days and cool nights in summer, and chilly to cold, snowy winters. The average annual precipitation is 812.3 mm (32 in). Temperatures in the city are lowered by the altitude (1,075 metres) compared with lowland areas.

Climate data for Andorra La Vella (Roc de Sant Pere), elevation: 1,075m (1971–2000, extremes 1934–present)
Record high °C (°F)18.0
Average high °C (°F)6.9
Daily mean °C (°F)2.2
Average low °C (°F)−2.5
Record low °C (°F)−15
Average precipitation mm (inches)53.1
Source 1: ACDA [7]
Source 2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [8]


The parish of Andorra la Vella is divided into the villages of Andorra la Vella itself, La Margineda and Santa Coloma.


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Footpath in Andorra la Vella

The city's old town is characterized by old stone streets and houses. The central Església de Sant Esteve (Saint Stephen) church is part of the area that guidebooks often label as a picturesque part of the city. [9] This was built in a Romanesque style in the eleventh century. As mentioned earlier, the old town also includes the country's historic parliament building. Probably the oldest building in the city is another church, dating from the ninth century, is the Church of Santa Coloma d'Andorra. [10]


Largest groups of foreign residents
NationalityPopulation (2013)
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 6,516
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 3,377
Flag of France.svg  France 664
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 246
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 218

Native Andorrans account for only a third (33%) of the population, with the plurality being Spanish (43%), and notable minorities of Portuguese (11%) and French (7%).


The city is the country's cultural centre, with the Government Exhibition Hall acting as a main theatre and museum. The piazza outside the parliament building is also the location of a number of events, and the town hosts a music festival every winter.


Catalan is the official language, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also spoken. Most of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, with a high life expectancy of over 80 years. [11]

Notable people

Jaume Bartumeu, 2009 Roda de premsa consellera Mar Serna - cap de Govern d'Andorra Jaume Bartumeu 01.jpg
Jaume Bartumeu, 2009


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Marc García, 2016

Economy and infrastructure

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Central street in Andorra la Vella

Andorra la Vella is the country's commercial centre. In the country as a whole, 80% of the GDP is derived from the 10 million tourists who visit annually. [12] The city is also the centre for the many banks and businesses that thrive from its tax haven status. The state is not a member of the European Union, but has a customs arrangement with the EU, and uses the euro.


Andorra la Vella has direct access to air transportation with commercial helicopter flights from Andorra la Vella Heliport, located in the city centre. Andorra–La Seu d'Urgell Airport is located 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of the city; it is actually located in Spain and since July 2015 operates domestic routes to various airports across that country. [13] Nearby airports located in Spain and France provide access to international flights with the nearest airports being Perpignan (156 km away) and Lleida (160 km away). The largest nearby airports are Toulouse (Tolosa), Girona and Barcelona. [14]

Andorra la Vella does not have a train station, although there are bus shuttle services linking the city to train stations at L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (France) and Lleida in Spain. There are also shuttle buses from Barcelona, Girona and Reus' airports to Andorra la Vella. [15]


The Instituto Español de Andorra (IEA), a Spanish international secondary school, is in La Margineda in Andorra la Vella. [16] The Spanish primary school is Escuela Española de Andorra la Vella. [17]

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Andorra la Vella is twinned with the following cities:

Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities

Andorra la Vella is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities [20] from 12 October 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:

Related Research Articles

Andorra Microstate on the Iberian Peninsula

Andorra, officially the Principality of Andorra, is a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south. Believed to have been created by Charlemagne, Andorra was ruled by the count of Urgell until 988, when it was transferred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Urgell. The present principality was formed by a charter in 1278. It is headed by two co-princes: the Bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain and the President of France. Its capital and largest city is Andorra la Vella.

Geography of Andorra

Andorra is a small, landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range and bordered by Spain and France. With an area of 468 km², it is the sixth smallest country in Europe and also the largest of the European microstates.

Andorra is a landlocked country in Europe, which lies between France and Spain, whose transport infrastructure is primarily road provision.

Gran Valira

The Gran Valira is the largest river in Andorra. It flows through the capital, Andorra la Vella, and exits the country in the south near the Spain–Andorra road border crossing.

La Seu dUrgell Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

La Seu d'Urgell is a town located in the Catalan Pyrenees in Spain. La Seu d'Urgell is also the capital of the comarca Alt Urgell, head of the judicial district of la Seu d'Urgell and the seat of Bishop of Urgell, one of the Andorra co-princes. It is in the district of Alt Pirineu i Aran, and is the town with the most inhabitants, having 17.4% of the district population. La Seu d'Urgell and Puigcerdà together have 30% of the population of the area.

Andorra is essentially Catalan speaking. The country has contributed significantly to the Catalan heritage.

La Massana Parish in Andorra

La Massana is one of the seven parishes of the Principality of Andorra. It is located in the northwest of the country. La Massana is also the name of the main town of the parish. The name Massana derives from the Latin name mattianam for a variety of apple. Other settlements in the parish are Pal, Arinsal, Erts, Sispony, Anyós, L'Aldosa de la Massana, Puiol del Pui, Escàs, Els Plans, Mas de Ribafeta, Xixerella and Pui.

Canillo Place in Andorra

Canillo is one of the parishes of Andorra. Canillo is also the name of the main town of the parish. The parish is considered the religious center of Andorra with the Sanctuary and Chapel of Our Lady of Meritxell, patron saint of Andorra, and contains one of the best-preserved romanesque churches in the Pyrenees, Sant Joan de Caselles. It has a population of 4,826, as of 2011. Despite having a tourist vocation, the parish of Canillo still retains many livestock and agricultural traits.

Ordino Place in Andorra

Ordino is the most northerly parish in the Principality of Andorra. It's mostly the main area of Valira del Nord or Valira d'Ordino river valley. Ordino is also the name of the main town of the parish. Other settlements in the parish are El Serrat, Ansalonga, Sornàs, La Cortinada, Llorts, Segudet, Arans, Les Salines and Arcalís. It is home to the Sorteny National Park, the largest nature area of Andorra. It has a population of 4,858, as of 2017. The town preserves a vast medieval center, mainly linked to the culture of the country.

Els Vilars dEngordany Place in Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra

Els Vilars d'Engordany, or simply Els Vilars, is a village in Andorra, located in the parish of Escaldes-Engordany. It is part of the contiguous urban area of Escaldes-Engordany and Andorra La Vella, and has panoramic views over the capital and the Gran Valira river valley.

Santa Coloma dAndorra Place in Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Santa Coloma d'Andorra, also known as Santa Coloma, is an Andorran town in the parish of Andorra la Vella, located near the Gran Valira river and 2 km away from the capital, Andorra la Vella.

La Margineda Place in Andorra la Vella, Andorra

La Margineda is an Andorran village located in the parish of Andorra la Vella. It is noted for its 12th-century Romanesque bridge, Pont de la Margineda, which is the best preserved and largest such bridge in Andorra, being 33 metres long and 9.2 metres tall.

Outline of Andorra Overview of and topical guide to Andorra

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Andorra:

Listed below are articles about or related to Andorra, arranged alphabetically:

The 2011–12 Primera Divisió was the seventeenth season of top-tier football in Andorra. It began on 18 September 2011 and ended on 22 April 2012. The defending champions FC Santa Coloma placed second, while FC Lusitanos won their first championship.

The Cultural Heritage of Andorra is an organization in Andorra which protects national buildings and monuments considered of cultural and historical value.

The 2013–14 Primera Divisió is the nineteenth season of top-tier football in Andorra. It began on September 22, 2013, and will end in April 2014. The defending champions are FC Lusitanos, who won their second championship in the previous season.

The 2015–16 Primera Divisió or Lliga Grup Becier, was the 21st season of top-tier football in Andorra. The season began on 27 September 2015. The defending champions were FC Santa Coloma, who won their ninth championship in the previous season.

Anarchism in Andorra peaked during the 1930s, when anarchist ideas were at the forefront of revolutionary politics in the Catalan countries.


  1. "Andorra". Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  2. Roach, Peter (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-15253-2.
  3. "Andorra la Vella | enciclopè". (in Catalan). Retrieved 2018-09-23. "El sobrenom la Vella, és a dir, la vila, li fou afegit posteriorment per tal de distingir la vila del conjunt del territori homònim i potser també per a subratllar-ne la capitalitat" English: "The nickname La Vella, that is, the town, was later added to distinguish the town from the whole of the territory [of Andorra] and perhaps also to emphasize its role as the capital.
  4. Carrick, Noel (1988). Andorra . Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN   9780791000991. The word vella has been translated into both English and Spanish as meaning 'old'. In fact, vella is a corruption of the Latin word villa, meaning 'city'. Thus Andorra la Vella merely means 'the city of Andorra'
  5. "History of the Principality of Andorra". 1997-12-11. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  6. "NGA: Country Files". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  7. "Andorra La Vella 1971-2000 averages". ACDA. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  8. "Station Andorra la Vella" (in French). Meteo Climat. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  9. "The beautiful Andorra la Vella". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  10. "Andorra la vella travel guide". Archived from the original on 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  11. CIA - The World Factbook - Andorra
  12. "CruisesOnly - About Cruising - Cruise Advice". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  13. Swiftair begins operation on July 18 at the airport of Andorra -La Seu flights to Madrid and Palma
  14. How to get to Andorra by Plane Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. How to get to Andorra by Bus Archived May 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Inicio" Instituto Español de Andorra. Retrieved on May 2, 2015. "DIRECCIÓN: c/ Tossalet i Vinyals, 33-45 La Margineda - AD500 Andorra la Vella Principado de Andorra"
  17. "Inicio" Escuela Española de Andorra la Vella. Retrieved on May 2, 2015. "C/ CIUTAL DE VALLS, 33 AD500- ANDORRA LA VELLA"
  18. "Andorra la Vella i Sant Pol de Mar oficialitzen el seu agermanament". 24 July 2010.
  19. "Valls i Andorra la Vella celebren el 40è aniversari del seu agermanament amb un concert a la Llacuna". 20 April 2007.
  20. "Declaración de Hermanamiento múltiple y solidario de todas las Capitales de Iberoamérica (12-10-82)" (PDF). 12 October 1982. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015.

Coordinates: 42°30′00″N1°30′00″E / 42.50000°N 1.50000°E / 42.50000; 1.50000