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Duty Free City Haven

Aug 17, 2007
Andorra is nestled high in the Pyrenees Mountains on the Spanish and French borders. Andorra la Vella, is the capital of the principality and its largest town, and it sits at an elevation of just over 1000m. During War Two, Andorra remained neutral and was an important smuggling route between Spain and France. It has the highest life expectancy in the world at 83 years old.

The only way into Andorra is by road. It has only three major roads, of which the CG1 runs to the Spanish border and the CG2 to the frontier with France.

Once isolated, it is currently a prosperous country mainly because of its status as a tax haven and tourism. Trade is duty free and lack of taxation is attractive to foreign investment. It is not a full member of the European Union, but enjoys a special relationship with it, such as being treated as an EU member for trade in manufactured goods and as a non EU member for agricultural products. Andorra has no currency of its own but it uses euros.

The town itself is given over almost entirely to the retailing of duty free electronics and luxury goods. And more like the clang and clatter of a bustling Asian marketplace than it is the grace and elegance of Europes grand old capitals.

Andorras long history has provided it with an abundance of rich folklore and folk tales. Andorra is really well known for its lively nightlife. This is not surprising because alcohol, is tax free. It is known as being a cheap, boozy destination for young party loving skiers and boarders, a reputation that it is trying without much success to get rid of.

The country has five ski resorts and all sit quite close together, so if you do get bored in one after a couple of days, you can always try out another. Soldeu and Pas de la Casa the biggest areas and some of the best skiing in the area and are now linked by lifts.

The town of Encamp has one of Andorras few museums, the Museu Nacional de l Automobil, which exhibits about 100 cars dating from 1898 to 1950 as well as scores of antique bikes and motorcycles. Just a short walk north of town is the Esglesia Sant Roma de les Bons, which dates from the 12th century. The Romanesque frescoes in the apse are reproductions of the originals, which are tucked away in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Car Hire Firm. and is a free lance writer for The Andorra Rental Site
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