To begin this article, I’d like to address the most common question that comes up when speaking of Andorra: is Andorra a real country?
Yes, Andorra is a legitimate (although small) country, located in southwest Europe between Spain and France.
In this article, we are going to cover some important facts about this fascinating little country: from some hard data facts, such as its population and size to fun and peculiar details about Andorra.
General Andorra Facts for Everyone
Here are some basic facts about Andorra (population facts, size statistics, etc.):
- The population of Andorra is approximately 70,000 people! That makes it the 11th smallest country in the world by population.
- If you wonder about the size of Andorra, its area equals 180 sq mi (468 sq km), which makes it less than one-third the size of New York City. It is the 6th smallest country in Europe and 16th smallest country worldwide.
- The capital and largest city of Andorra is Andorra la Vella.
- The country has only two neighbors, France and Spain. Andorra is located in between the autonomous community Catalonia and the French department Ariège.
- Even though Andorra is not in the eurozone or the EU, the official currency in Andorra is the euro.
- The only official language in Andorra is Catalan! However, most of the people in the country are trilingual, using Catalan, French, and Spanish in everyday life. What’s even more interesting is that Andorra is the only country in the world with Catalan as an official language.
Facts about the Flag of Andorra
- It is believed that the colors on the country flag reflect the impact of both Spain and France, as the French flag has red and blue stripes, and the flag of Spain has a combination of yellow and red.
- Even though the flag of Andorra has been used since the 19th century, its design was officially ratified only in 1993, when Andorra joined the United Nations.
Facts about Andorra’s Nature
- Around 92% of the country is forest land, and only 8% is urbanized or used for farming.
- Thanks to its location in the Pyrenees Mountains, Andorra can boast the highest capital city in Europe! Andorra la Vella is situated at an elevation of 3,356 ft (1,023 km) above sea level.
- About 9% of the country has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Curiously, it is only one landmark – Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley.
- One of the most interesting facts about Andorra for wine enthusiasts is that, like its neighbors, Andorra produces some high-quality wine! Local vineyards make impressive high-altitude wines, such as Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.
Facts about the Political System of Andorra
- Despite its location, Andorra is not a member of the European Union or the Schengen Area. However, if you are planning on a trip to this charming country, you do not have to obtain a specific visa. If you do not need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe, you can enter simply with your passport.
- Since 1278, Andorra has been a co-principality. The government of the country is shared between two princes: the President of France, and the Bishop of Urgell. The Bishop of Urgell is appointed by the Pope, and he oversees Catalonia and Andorra, and the President of France is elected by, well, the French people.
- Even though Andorra has two princes, it is a parliamentary co-principality, which means that the real executive power over the country lies in the hands of the prime minister.
More Fun and Interesting Facts about Andorra
- Andorra is the largest country in Europe considered to be a microstate. The biggest smallest nation, if you will.
- Historically, Andorra has never had its own army. However, in times of extreme need, the army has been formed by the heads of the families.
- There are no airports or railroads in Andorra, and it is only possible to enter the country by land through its neighbors.
- The postal service in Andorra is operated by France and Spain, and not the state. Both of these countries issue special stamps that can be used by Andorrans.
- There are three pillars that generate more than three-quarters of the GDP in Andorra: tourism (with a large part of it related to skiing in the Pyrenees Mountains), financial services, and retail sales.
- One of the most interesting facts about Andorra is that in olden times, before the country started to thrive thanks to tourism and financial services, two main sources of income and pride for Andorrans were sheep and tobacco!
Well, that’s our list of fun and captivating facts about Andorra, the curious and unique country hidden high in the Pyrenees! If you have any other cool Andorra facts to add, any questions, or feedback, let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!