Situated in the eastern Pyrenees Mountains, Andorra sits just south of Spain. It is considered a microstate because of its extremely small population and land area. Less than 90,000 people reside in Andorra, and the country covers less than 200 square miles of land. Though it is a sovereign state with its own prime minister, Andorra has a monarchy comprising rulers from its bordering countries: Spain’s Roman Catholic Bishop and the French president. The holders of either office operate as co-princes of Andorra.
Their primary language is Catalan, a romance language spoken in Spain, but French, Spanish and Portuguese are commonly spoken as well.
Andorra is a popular destination for those seeking lavish ski resorts. Mountainous terrain and cold weather allow Andorra to provide tourists with the ideal skiing experience. Between the ski culture and breathtaking views of nature, tourism accounts for 80 percent of the country’s GDP.
- The people of Andorra pay no income tax, therefore, the country is viewed as a tax haven.
- There are no airports or railways in Andorra, but there is a very good road system.
- Andorra la Vella, the capital, is the highest European capital, standing at a height of 3,356 ft. (1,023 m). It is located within the Pyrenees mountain range.
- Andorra contains a thermal spa called Caldea. It is one of the largest health spas in Europe, considered a futuristic architectural wonder, and is set picturesquely in the Andorra mountains.
- Andorra does not have a military presence. In the event of attack, Spain and France are responsible for defending the country.
- Andorra is the only country in the world with three different educational systems in place. Students can choose whether they want to attend schools that abide by the educational law of Andorra, France or Spain.
- It is a very safe country. Crime is virtually nonexistent.
- Andorrans enjoy the eighth highest life expectancy in the world, living to be an average of 82.8 years of age.
- The country is health-oriented. Students are taught to ski as part of their educational curriculum, and the government built a free athletic complex in Andorra la Vella, the capital.
- Andorra is not part of the European Union (EU), but it uses the Euro as its official currency.