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cavergirl Jul 8th, 2015 12:26 PM

Northern Spain trip - do we include Andorra
I am working on an itinerary for 3 weeks in northern Spain. The plan is that we will fly into Bilbao, do La Rioja and the Basque Country area then work our way across the country to the Costa Brava then down to Barcelona. We will be doing this mostly by car. There is nothing in my guide book on Andorra and I don't know anyone who has been there. Is it worth including in my itinerary?

I have also not found much on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Even my guide book doesn't have any great recommendations on that area. Are there any must sees in that area? Where is a good place to stop overnight?


sandralist Jul 8th, 2015 12:35 PM

When I traveled in the Pyrenees I also found it difficult to find guidebooks and information. I really had to dig around the internet, and you might need to do the same. I didn't book anything in advance for my trip, and I found no need to whatsoever -- but I was traveling in May, and perhaps things are much busier at other times of the year. I don't know.

I have always regretted that I didn't include Andorra because so many people pooh-pooh it. I gather than one half of the country is rather dreadful with a mash-up of cheap shopping and ski condos. But I gather that the other half is still pristine and enjoyable for the scenery. So I wish I had ignored the "it's not worth it" conclusion and come to my own conclusions. I've found in many of my travels I like places other tourists don't, and have a real problem with the tourist darlings.

yorkshire Jul 8th, 2015 12:57 PM

cute article:

tower Jul 8th, 2015 12:58 PM

I found the same situation when I visited Andorra a few years back. Evidently, we DID find that most of the small nation was quite attractive with great Pyrenee views....once you pass through duty-free "Tijuana" with a mass of outlets selling cigarettes, liquor, shoes, etc.

The trick is finding a nice place to stay just off the bargain routes...we did, and would recommend The Andorra Park on it's own handsome grounds surrounded by Pyrenee views, The manager gave us some tips on which direction to follow to find the beauty of the little country. (I stopped into a few of the heralded Andorra banks, but no money was being given out on that day.....oh, well.)

Michael Jul 8th, 2015 01:32 PM

<i> But I gather that the other half is still pristine and enjoyable for the scenery.</i>

Scenery that is available without the detour to that country.

There is no Pyrenees high road like the "route des Grandes Alpes" which follows the French-Italian border. I believe that the more spectacular alpine attractions of the Pyrenees are on the French side, such as the Cirque de Gavarnie, the cable car and train ride to the Pic du Midi d'Ossau, and the Col du Tourmalet. In the Basque country there is the La Rhune train ride, which takes you to the top of a mountain straddling the border (the Spanish staff of the restaurant at the top takes a road up the Spanish side of the mountain).

On the Spanish side of the Pyrenees one should visit San Juan de la Peña in the flat lands, and Taüll in the mountains for its church frescoes. The latter might also be a base for hiking in the mountains.

kja Jul 8th, 2015 04:12 PM

I skipped Andorra, but did spend some time on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. You can click on my name to find my trip report.

Robert2533 Jul 8th, 2015 05:49 PM

One typically goes to Andora the sky or do some trekking, but there isn't much else of interest unless you want to go shopping, You will be stopped by the French or Spainsh Border Patrol depending on which why you're traveling,

For information on the Pyrenees, check out the following:

For info on the Rioja:

cavergirl Jul 9th, 2015 05:42 PM

Thanks to all of you. Glad I am not the only one who had a hard time getting info. I looked at places to stay and didn't find much on that either. I will keep researching but at least I have some idea.

jack333 Jul 11th, 2015 05:16 AM

One possible explanation for the lack of info on Andorra is that there is really no reason to go to Andorra, unless you simply want to be able to place a check mark in the "Been there; done that" column. In my opinion. the country's chief (and really only) asset is its shopping facilities.

annhig Jul 11th, 2015 05:35 AM

I can thoroughly recommend the Cadogan guides for giving detailed and well-written information and they have ones both on Northern Spain and Languedoc and the Pyrenees - we have often used them when touring and they always come up trumps.

The Fodors "Spain- See it" guide also has some interesting ideas in it including I think a tour of Rioja country.

Lastly, you can't go wrong with the Green Michelin guides, though I prefer the old-fashioned type that just had sights in them not the new type which have a very limited selection of hotels and restaurants.

cavergirl Jul 11th, 2015 06:57 AM

It sounds more and more like it is not worth going there. After reading Michael's response, I started doing some research on the French side of the Basque Country and am revamping my itinerary to go from San Sebastian to Biarritz then up into the mountains from there. It looks like there are a lot of neat little villages and there is an easy pass through back to Spain.

annhig Jul 11th, 2015 08:35 AM

in that case, definitely try to get hold of the Cadogan guide for that part of France - it should help you a lot.

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