Driving into Andorra from Spain
10km from La Seu d’Urgell lies the sixth smallest country in Europe and one we really have put on our “to do” list. Driving into Andorra from Spain has to be done when we’re so close to the border. Not only that, but we really want an extra country sticker for the campervan, so here’s our opportunity to add one to the list.
La Seu d’Urgell an Olympic town
Our journey began several weeks ago now, part of a Summer tour which now sees our travel diaries reach mid August. A couple of days ago we left the incredible walking route at Queralbs before moving on to La Seu d’Urgell. It’s here where we find a motorhome Aire, making parking easy for a stroll around the town.
This town is most well known for its Olympic water sports centre and it’s not long before we find ourselves bedside rafts spiralling through the rafting course. A little further on in this vast complex we come across the rowing lake. There seems to be everything on offer here for anyone who loves to mess around on the water.
On the way back to the campervan we happen to walk by a brand new Aire that’s under construction. This one is going to be operated by Camping-Car Park and will be open by the time you read this.
Andorra here we come
Next up it’s time for a brief visit into the 468 km that’s Andorra. We’re not quite sure if we’re going to stop the night, so keep an open mind for now.
First though we’ve got to get there, which means a short drive towards the border of Spain and Andorra. It’s not long before the signs for Andorra come into view, followed by the border crossing.
We know it’s going to be busy, but we didn’t think it would be quite so chaotic as this. It seems there’s lots of people heading into Andorra and we probably know why.
Cheap fuel and low cost shopping
Just beyond the border crossing, which we go through without any need to stop, is a continuous row of shops. Each displays banners tempting day-trippers in for the cheap shopping options, in this duty-free haven.
At this point we don’t quite know what to do with our time here, however long that might be. One thing we do know is that we’re not fond on shopping, so move swiftly on from the big stores at the side of the road.
The queues for fuel, being cheap as chips here, are long and stagnant and just like the shops there’s plenty of fuel stations.
Typically, we needed to fill up a couple of days ago, so no use in filling up today. No doubt, these duty free hubs are a big attraction and with the cheapest fuel we’ve seen this trip, it’s a big draw for punters.
Andorra has Aires just like Spain
Andorra has Aires – how cool is that? We choose one located just up a hill above the main town of Andorra la Vella. However, the Aire doesn’t have many places for motorhomes, although it does have a dump and it’s not exactly scenic. Being a purely functional parking area doesn’t bother us and with one hour free parking and 40 cents an hour thereafter, it’s not a bad deal.
Unfortunately, just as we open the campervan door the heavens open. Undeterred, we carry on walking down the steep pavement into the town.
So far, there’s nothing terribly appealing here, it’s more concrete jungle than green oasis. Like all good towns though, we soon spot a fantastic laundry and it just so happens we desperately need to do the washing.
After a quick dash back to the van to grab all our laundry bags, we hibernate inside the laundry while the rain lashes down like never before. Then we wait for the rain to ease enough for another dash uphill back to the van. We get a good soaking in the process and now it’s decision time – stay in Andorra or go.
Nothing to declare – Driving into Andorra from Spain
To be honest, we’re normally much more curious with our countries. However, there’s something about Andorra which just isn’t doing it for us. Of course the rain doesn’t help and I’m sure once you’re out of the town then the appeal may improve.
We could drive on to try and find some better parts, but we just don’t feel like taking on the mountain roads today. After all, we just really felt like popping over the border and we’ve done that, now we both think we want to carry on in Spain.
First though, we stop at a few fuel stations to try and buy an Andorra country sticker for the back of the campervan. Unfortunately, we have no luck, but no doubt if we ventured into the nearby shopping centres we’d find plenty.
Next, comes the nothing to declare queue a little further on at the border. Not only is it huge but it’s also slow. Yawn yawn springs to mind, as we sit and wait it out along with numerous others.
A van inspection
Then finally, it’s our turn. No sooner do we inch forward towards the customs guard than he beckons us to open the doors.
We get asked a few questions about why we’re there and if we’ve bought anything. Probably we’re one of the only visitors today who’ve come to do the laundry!
Nonetheless, the guard looks inside the van, checking for any hidden stash of duty free – which there genuinely isn’t.
He does’t want our passports or i.d and soon enough he waves us on back towards Spain.
It’s been a pretty uneventful day in Andorra and we come away feeling as if we perhaps should have done more. Maybe we’ll return one day to see a bit more but for now, we really want to continue in Spain.
So with that we head towards the Col del Canto, a beautiful mountain pass leading to the town of Sort. Next time, we find the most incredible scenery and the most beautiful walking routes where a Landrover is the only form of transport.