Andorra la Vella

Andorra la Vella (Catalan pronunciation: [ənˈdorə lə ˈβeʎə], Spanish: Andorra la Vieja, French: Andorre-la-Vieille) is the capital of the Principality of Andorra. It is located high in the east Pyrenees, between France and Spain. It is also the name of the parish that surrounds the capital.

As of 2015, the city has a population of 22,886, and the urban area, which includes Escaldes-Engordany plus satellite villages, has over 40,000 inhabitants.

The principal industry is tourism, although the country also earns foreign income from being a tax haven. Furniture and brandies are local products. Being at an elevation of 1,023 metres (3,356 ft), it is the highest capital city in Europe and a popular ski resort.

Andorra la Vella
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
View of Andorra la Vella and a small part of Escaldes-Engordany
Flag of Andorra la Vella
Official seal of Andorra la Vella
Location within Andorra
Location within Andorra
Andorra la Vella is located in Iberia
Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella
Location within the Iberian peninsula
Andorra la Vella is located in Europe
Andorra la Vella
Andorra la Vella
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 42°30′N 01°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E
ParishesAndorra la Vella
VillagesLa Margineda, Santa Coloma
 • Cònsol MajorConxita Marsol
 • Total12 km2 (5 sq mi)
1,023 m (3,356 ft)
 • Total22,256[1]
andorrà, andorrana (ca)
WebsiteOfficial site


Andorra la Vella means "Andorra the Town", to distinguish it from the Principality of Andorra as a whole.[2] Although in Catalan the word vella (like French vieille) is derived from the Latin word vetula and means "old", the Vella here (like French ville and Catalan vila) is derived from the Latin word villa and means "town".[3]


San Andreu
Sant Andreu Church

The site of Andorra la Vella has been settled since prior to the Christian era—notably by the Andosin tribe from the late Neolithic. The state is one of the Marca Hispanica created and protected by Charlemagne in the eighth century as a buffer from the Moorish settlers in the Iberian Peninsula.[4]

The settlement of Andorra la Vella has been the principal city of Andorra since 1278 when the French and the Episcopal co-princes agreed to joint suzerainty. Andorra la Vella's old town—the Barri Antic—includes streets and buildings dating from this time. Its most notable building is the Casa de la Vall—constructed in the early sixteenth century—which has been the state's parliamentary house since 1702. Andorra la Vella was, during this period, the capital of a largely isolated and feudal state, which retained its independence due to this principle of co-sovereignty.

Well into the twentieth century, the area around Andorra la Vella remained largely forgotten; indeed the state was not part of the Treaty of Versailles, simply because it was not noticed. After political turmoil in the 1930s and an attempted coup by Boris Skossyreff, an informal democracy developed.

In 1993, the country's first constitution formalised this parliamentary democracy with executive, legislative, and judicial branches located in Andorra la Vella.

During this period, Andorra also developed as a tax haven, resulting in the construction of modern banking offices in Andorra La Vella. The city also developed its skiing facilities, to the extent that Andorra la Vella was Andorra's applicant city for the XXI Olympic Winter Games, the 2010 Winter Olympics. However, Andorra la Vella was not selected by the IOC as a candidate city, following the evaluation report of an IOC commission. It also hosted both the 1991 and 2005 Games of the Small States of Europe.


Andorra la Vella is located in the south west of Andorra, at 42°30′N 1°30′E / 42.500°N 1.500°E,[5] at the confluence of two mountain streams, the Valira del Nord (Northern Valira) and the Valira de l'Orient (Eastern Valira), which join to form the Gran Valira. It adjoins the urban area of Escaldes-Engordany. The city is at 1,023 metres (3,356 ft) above sea level.


Andorra la Vella has an oceanic climate (Cfb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with warm summers and chilly to cold, snowy winters. The average annual precipitation is 812.3 mm (32 in). Temperatures are lowered by the altitude compared with lowland areas.

Climate data for Andorra La Vella (Roc de Sant Pere), elevation: 1,075m (1971–2000, extremes 1934–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.0
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.2
Average low °C (°F) −2.5
Record low °C (°F) −15
Average precipitation mm (inches) 53.1
Source #1: ACDA[6]
Source #2: Meteo Climat (record highs and lows)[7]


The parish of Andorra la Vella is divided into the villages of Andorra la Vella itself, La Margineda and Santa Coloma.


Andorra la Vella - footpath
Andorra la Vella, footpath

The city's old town is characterized by old stone streets and houses. The central Església de Sant Esteve (Saint Stephen) church is part of the area that guidebooks often label as a picturesque part of the city.[8] This was built in a Romanesque style in the eleventh century. As mentioned earlier, the old town also includes the country's historic parliament building. Probably the oldest building in the city is another church, dating from the ninth century, of Santa Coloma.[9]


Largest groups of foreign residents
Nationality Population (2013)
 Spain 6,516
 Portugal 3,377
 France 664
 Morocco 246
 Philippines 218

Native Andorrans, who are ethnically Catalan, account for only a third (33%) of the population, with the plurality being Spanish (43%) (both Spanish and Catalan-speaking), and notable minorities of Portuguese (11%) and French (7%).


The city is the country's cultural centre, with the Government Exhibition Hall acting as a main theatre and museum. The piazza outside the parliament building is also the location of a number of events, and the town hosts a music festival every winter.


Catalan is the official language, although Spanish, Portuguese and French are also spoken. Most of the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, with a high life expectancy of over 80 years.[10]

Notable people

  • Marc Forné Molné (born 1946 in Andorra la Vella) was the Prime Minister of Andorra from 1994 to 2005
  • Lluís Claret (born 1951 in Andorra la Vella) cellist, especially of chamber music
  • Albert Salvadó (born Andorra la Vella 1951) writer and industrial engineer
  • Jaume Bartumeu GCIH (born 1954) lawyer and politician, who served as head of government from 2009 to 2011
  • Juli Minoves (born 1969 in Andorra la Vella) diplomat, author and the 13th President of Liberal International
  • Pere López Agràs (born 1971 in Andorra la Vella) politician who served as an acting Prime Minister in 2011

Sports stars

Economy and infrastructure

Andorra la Vella is the country's commercial centre. In the country as a whole, 80% of the GDP is derived from the 10 million tourists who visit annually.[11] The city is also the centre for the many banks and businesses that thrive from its tax haven status. The state is not a member of the European Union, but has a customs arrangement with the EU, and uses the euro.


Andorra la Vella has direct access to air transportation with commercial helicopter flights from Andorra la Vella Heliport, located in the city centre. Andorra–La Seu d'Urgell Airport is located 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of the city and since July 2015 operates domestic routes to various airports across Spain.[12] Nearby airports located in Spain and France provide access to international flights with the nearest airports being Perpignan (156 km away) and Lleida (160 km away). The largest nearby airports are Toulouse (Tolosa), Girona and Barcelona.[13]

Andorra la Vella does not have a train station, although there are bus shuttle services linking the city to train stations at L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre (France) and Lleida in Spain. There are also shuttle buses from Barcelona, Girona and Reus' airports to Andorra la Vella.[14]


The Instituto Español de Andorra (IEA), a Spanish international secondary school, is in La Margineda in Andorra la Vella.[15] The Spanish primary school is Escuela Española de Andorra la Vella.[16]

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Andorra la Vella is twinned with the following cities:

Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities

Andorra la Vella is part of the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities[17] from 12 October 1982 establishing brotherly relations with the following cities:


  1. ^ "Andorra". Archived from the original on 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2015-02-16.
  2. ^ "Andorra la Vella | enciclopè". (in Catalan). Retrieved 2018-09-23. "El sobrenom la Vella, és a dir, la vila, li fou afegit posteriorment per tal de distingir la vila del conjunt del territori homònim i potser també per a subratllar-ne la capitalitat" English: "The nickname La Vella, that is, the town, was later added to distinguish the town from the whole of the territory [of Andorra] and perhaps also to emphasize its role as the capital.
  3. ^ Carrick, Noel (1988). Andorra. Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 9780791000991. The word vella has been translated into both English and Spanish as meaning 'old'. In fact, vella is a corruption of the Latin word villa, meaning 'city'. Thus Andorra la Vella merely means 'the city of Andorra'
  4. ^ "History of the Principality of Andorra". 1997-12-11. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  5. ^ "NGA: Country Files". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  6. ^ "Andorra La Vella 1971-2000 averages". ACDA. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Station Andorra la Vella" (in French). Meteo Climat. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  8. ^ "The beautiful Andorra la Vella". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  9. ^ "Andorra la vella travel guide". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  10. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Andorra
  11. ^ "CruisesOnly - About Cruising - Cruise Advice". Retrieved 2010-06-27.
  12. ^ Swiftair begins operation on July 18 at the airport of Andorra -La Seu flights to Madrid and Palma
  13. ^ How to get to Andorra by Plane Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ How to get to Andorra by Bus Archived May 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Inicio" Instituto Español de Andorra. Retrieved on May 2, 2015. "DIRECCIÓN: c/ Tossalet i Vinyals, 33-45 La Margineda - AD500 Andorra la Vella Principado de Andorra"
  16. ^ "Inicio" Escuela Española de Andorra la Vella. Retrieved on May 2, 2015. "C/ CIUTAL DE VALLS, 33 AD500- ANDORRA LA VELLA"
  17. ^ "Declaración de Hermanamiento múltiple y solidario de todas las Capitales de Iberoamérica (12-10-82)" (PDF). 12 October 1982. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 42°30′00″N 1°30′00″E / 42.50000°N 1.50000°E

2016 Andorran Supercup

The 2016 Andorran Supercup was played on 11 September 2016, at Estadi Comunal in Andorra la Vella. This was the fourteenth Andorran Supercup. It was won 1–0 by UE Santa Coloma.

Andorra national rugby union team

The Andorra national rugby union team, nicknamed Els Isards (which is a Pyrenean Chamois) represent Andorra in international rugby union competitions. As of 2 September 2018, they were ranked 70th out of 100 rugby-playing nations by the World Rugby. They play most of their home games in Andorra la Vella, the country's capital, though have had some matches in Foix, which is in France.

They compete in the European Nations Cup, and are currently in the second division. As well as playing numerous friendlies they have also taken part in the qualification stages of the Rugby World Cup, competing in every tournament since 1995.

Antiga Vegueria Francesa

Antiga Vegueria Francesa is a historical house located at Avinguda Meritxell, 13 in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. It is a heritage property registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra. It was built in 1941.

CE Principat

Club Esportiu Principat was an Andorran football club created in 1989, based in the city of Andorra la Vella. Was one of the most successful football clubs in Andorra along with FC Santa Coloma and UE Sant Julià, having won three times the Andorran Premier League and five times the Andorran Cup. The club was dissolved in 2015.

Casa Felipó

Casa Felipó is a historical building in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. Built in 1948, it is located along the Avinguda de Meritxell, just to east of the Andorra National Library and the Església de Sant Esteve. It is a heritage property registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra.

Casa Massip-Dolsa

Casa Massip-Dolsa is a historical house located at 22 Avinguda de Meritxell in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. It is a heritage property registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra. It was built in 1938-9.

Casa dels Russos

Casa dels Russos (House of the Russians) is a historical house in Santa Coloma d'Andorra, Andorra la Vella parish, Andorra. It is a heritage property registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra. Designed by Cesar Martinell it is built in a combination of Catalan Modernisme and Noucentisme styles.

Constel·lació Esportiva

Constel·lació Esportiva was an Andorran football club from Andorra La Vella. The team began play in the Andorran First Division (Campionat de Lliga) in 1998 and dominated the league in 2000, beating FC Encamp 6–0 in the championship.

That summer, the Andorran Football Federation accused the team of trying to buy players from other teams, there were financial irregularities, and the team did not want to divide its winnings from the UEFA cup with the league. The team was kicked out of the First Division for seven years.

Església de Sant Esteve

Església de Sant Esteve is a church located on Plaça del Príncep Benlloch in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. It is a heritage property registered in the Cultural Heritage of Andorra. It was built in the 11th-12th century and then restored in the 20th century.

Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella

The Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella is a small football stadium in Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra. The stadium has a capacity of 1300.The stadium also has a running track. The Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella and the Camp d’Esports d’Aixovall together host all games from Andorra's two highest football competitions, the Primera Divisió and the Segona Divisió.It also hosted all Andorra national football team games until the opening of the Estadi Nacional in 2014.

Estadi Nacional

The Estadi Nacional is a stadium located in Andorra la Vella. It is the national stadium of Andorra, and is used for association football and rugby union.

It has a capacity of 3,306, and the pitch is made of artificial turf.

FC Andorra

Futbol Club Andorra is a football club based in Andorra la Vella, Andorra, established in 1942. They play in the Spanish football league system.

Most of the Andorra national football team are typically selected from FC Andorra, which currently competes in the Primera Catalana at the 5th level of the Spanish football league system. Although the club is based in Andorra, they have competed in the Spanish league system since 1948. Segunda División B, the third tier, is the highest league that the club have played in.

Foreign relations of Andorra

Since the establishment of sovereignty with the ratification of the constitution in 1993, Andorra has moved to become an active member of the international community. In July 1993, Andorra established its first diplomatic mission in the world to the United Nations.

Andorra maintains six embassies abroad: in Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and the United States.Foreign affairs are supervised by the Ministry of External Affairs (Catalan: Ministeri d'Afers Exteriors).

La Margineda

La Margineda (Catalan pronunciation: [lə məɾʒiˈnɛðə], locally: [la maɾʒiˈneða]) is an Andorran village located in the parish of Andorra la Vella. It is noted for its 12th-century Romanesque bridge, Pont de la Margineda, which is the best preserved and largest such bridge in Andorra, being 33 metres long and 9.2 metres tall.The Instituto Español de Andorra (IEA), a Spanish international secondary school, is in La Margineda.

List of Andorran records in athletics

The following are the national records in athletics in Andorra maintained by its national athletics federation: Federació Andorrana d'Atletisme (FAA).

List of football clubs in Andorra

Here's a list of all the clubs playing in the Andorran football league system, under Federació Andorrana de Fútbol in the two amateur levels:

Andorran First League (8 teams)

Andorran Second League (15 teams)The FC Andorra not play in Andorran leagues, but played in the Spanish leagues

In bold are indicated eight teams winners Andorran First Division, Cup and Super Cup.

Poliesportiu d'Andorra

Poliesportiu d'Andorra, also known as Poliesportiu de Govern, is an indoor sporting arena located in Andorra la Vella, Andorra.

Santa Coloma d'Andorra

Santa Coloma d'Andorra (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈsantə kuˈlomə ðənˈdorə]), also known as Santa Coloma, is an Andorran town in the parish of Andorra la Vella, located near the Gran Valira river and 2 km away from the capital, Andorra la Vella.

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