Andorra la Vella is the capital and largest city of Andorra, a tiny microstate located high in the Pyrenees between the borders of Spain and France. Though decidedly smaller than its neighbours, Andorra possesses a great deal of charm, thanks to its pristine mountain landscapes, local culture and well-preserved history – especially in the Barri Antic, or old quarter.
Perhaps the first thing you'll notice about Andorra la Vella is its surroundings. The eastern Pyrenees are a boon for hikers and bikers in the summer, while winter blankets the mountain peaks with snow and reopens the area's high-altitude ski resorts. The Rec del Solà is a scenic hike that follows an old irrigation system and features views of the valley and the Romanesque bridge of Sant Antoni.
Andorra la Vella's remote location could be the reason why its historic buildings remain so unchanged. The 16th-century Casa de la Vall is one of the oldest parliament buildings in Europe, while the medieval Church of Santa Coloma's nave dates back to the eighth or ninth centuries. The 12th-century Church of Saint Stephen still retains its Romanesque apse and bell tower.
The predominantly Catalan cuisine in Andorra la Vella is always fresh and seasonal, but the bigger tourism draw here is the shopping. The old quarter acts like an open-air shopping mall, filled with family-run storefronts. For more modern finds, head to Avinguda Meritxell, a commercial strip whose shops sell everything from watches to clothes.