Tucked away in the eastern Pyrenees, the tiny Principality of Andorra is a land of narrow valleys and mountainous landscapes. Andorra’s pretty villages and hamlets – dotted along the main road that traverses the country – are filled with Romanesque churches and houses built in the local style. The few found away from the main road are even more unspoilt, and provide spectacular views across the rugged countryside.
Liberal snowfalls and Andorra’s undulating chunk of the Pyrenees make for great skiing conditions; those who love wintersports will find some of Europe’s best. During milder spells, Andorra also offers top hiking conditions, with sweeping valleys, challenging ascents and charming views.
You could spend a lifetime’s worth of holidays in France and still not feel as though you’d done the country justice. It remains the planet’s most visited tourist destination, meriting this lofty standing with an almost overwhelming mass of historical treasures, storybook landscapes and cultural idiosyncrasies.
In terms of where to go and what to see, it’s all about the dramatic juxtapositions. You can soak up the A-list beaches of the Cote d’Azur, drowse in the timeless greenery of the Loire Valley or gaze up at the monumental peaks of the Alps. Wander the lavender fields of Provence, eat your way round the legendary bistros of Lyon or sample the rugged charm of Corsica. Lose yourself in megaliths, linger in ancient walled cities and hike dizzying cliff tops. France’s cities, coastline and countryside all have their own ooh-la-la rewards, and when taken as a whole, they present a near-perfect visitor package.
From sizzling cuisine and riotous fiestas to cutting edge contemporary art, age-old museums and a palpitating beach culture, Spain sure packs a punch. It’s feisty, sexy and extremely hot – almost like a sensual flamenco dancer who captivates with her mesmerising moves. Whether you are a culture vulture, history buff or beach bum, it’s almost inevitable that with Spain, it’ll be love at first sight.
Spain is a country as diverse as it is eclectic: futuristic buildings stand alongside ancient Roman cathedrals, while traditional flamenco tablaos abut stylish boutique hotels. In a country with this much historical background, the marriage of distinctive cultures is evident from its flurry of Romanesque churches, baroque buildings, Moorish fortresses and Renaissance palaces.
Eternal sunshine and endless stretches of golden beaches are certainly part of the sultry charm of this country, but Spain’s allure clearly stretches beyond the coastline. In the north, the mountainous national parks of Asturias offer scenic hiking in alpine environments, while the craggy coastline of Galicia surprises with isolated bays and picturesque fishing villages. Head west to find your way through the Roman ruins of Extremadura, or weave your way eastwards to marvel at the architectural wonders of Valencia and Tarragona. Down South, a plethora of ancient monuments, wonderful cities and traditional arts await in Andalucía. Take your time to explore, because Spain will surprise you.
(Andorra Tourist Guide)