Gay Andorra! Skiing, Mountains, Spas, Shopping and More in the Pyrenees Mountains!
the mother witch from Bewitched!
Although I seem to remember Dr. Bombay up in the snowy mountains in one episode…that could have been Andorra.
If you have never heard of Andorra it is an old, small, beautiful landlocked country in western Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. Just a 2 hour drive from Barcelona airport, or slightly less if you drive in from the Toulouse airport in France.
It is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism (nearly 10 million people annually)and its status as a duty-free tax haven. The people of Andorra are currently listed as having the highest human life expectancy in the world, living to an average of 85 years! And Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe.
Andorra truly has some breathtaking mountains! We stood in awe at the Grand Valira ski resort/station, from the base of the mountains, looking towards the top, which must have stretched 2+ miles…skiers looked like ants moving down the hills! Equally as beautiful, but much smaller was the Vallnord resort/station.
Due to its location in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra consists predominantly of rugged mountains of an average height of 1,996 metres (6,549 ft) with the highest being the Coma Pedrosa at 2,946 metres (9,665 ft). These are dissected by three narrow valleys in a Y shape that combine into one as the main stream, the Valira river, leaves the country for Spain (at Andorra’s lowest point of 870 m/2,854 ft). Andorra’s total surface area is only 468 square kilometres (181 sq mi).
Andorra’s climate is similar to that of its neighbours’ temperate climates, but its higher altitude means there is, on average, more snow in winter and it is slightly cooler in summer. Lots to see and do in either season!
We just got back from a wonderful Gay Ski Week there, organized by ORIGINAL ANDORRA, and they are now planning a Summer Gay Glamour Party Week for June 14 – 21. It’s VERY reasonable in Andorra. And the shopping is big there, due to the tax situation.
Skiing is very big there, as you can imagine, surrounded by all the amazing mountains. I am NOT a skier, and there was lots to do and see in Andorra…both in the snow and out of the snow. They have things like ski bikes, snow mobiles and Husky sleigh rides/dog sleds for non-skiers. And being up in the mountains surrounded by all the majestic beauty, was breathtaking!
This past ski season Andorra really raised the bar to compete in the skiing market. In addition to the inclusion of an ice hotel, Andorra hotels and resorts have made more than 20 million euros worth of upgrades to existing ski areas. Improvements and additions include low-cost helicopter sight-seeing flights, tubing slopes, new ice rinks and a snowmobile circuit.
An Ice Hotel is really something to see! The Grand Valira resort unveiled its first icy accommodation for tourists this winter, when the Iglu-Dorf chain – which already runs igloo developments in five Swiss ski resorts – opened a snow palace to cater for up to 26 guests – complete with fur-covered beds and an après-ski bar.
All of the skiing pretty much wraps up this week in Andorra….until the next season begins. But it’s also a great summer vacation spot with hiking, dune buggies, golf, shopping, museums, barbeques and of course, the world famous CALDEA WELLNESS SPA! Next week we will cover all of this in a follow up article.
While this isn’t a “gay city”, it’s super laid back and welcoming and people like Original Andorra plan these great “gay weeks’ there, with the next one being June 14 – 21st!
“Homosexual acts” are legal in Andorra. The age of consent is 16 for all. In 2005, they legalized civil unions including having the right to adopt.
The official and historic language is Catalan. Because of immigration and close geographic proximity, other languages such as French, Portuguese and Spanish are also commonly spoken. Many people speak English, so it easy to communicate.
I say it’s a little bit of Spain, a little bit of France, a little bit of magic!
Discover Andorra Soon! And watch for our follow up article next week, with more in depth coverage and specifics!
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