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Andorra La Vella, Andorra

For anyone not using the slopes, the lack of facilities in the resorts is a major drawback. The main alternative is to travel to Andorra La Vella – or, if the skiing is less important to you than the facilities, stay here and travel to the resorts. The new Funicamp 24-person gondola goes from Encamp, just up the road from Andorra La Vella to the heart of the Soldeu/Grau Roig/ Pas de la Casa area and takes just 14 minutes. Buses run to it from Andorra La Vella and Escaldes.

There are plenty of high-quality hotels. Andorra La Vella is not a big place, and most hotels are within easy walking distance of the center of the town.

The town itself has many attractions. The duty-free shopping could fill a page, but probably the most interesting place is Caldea spa. The interior is laid out in a “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” style, and the facilities are very impressive – indoor-outdoor pools, with fountains and waterfalls, saunas, hot-tubs, Turkish baths, hydrotherapy, sunbeds, massage … even a grapefruit bath!

There is plenty of choice when it comes to dining out. Andorrans love seafood, and the traditional Catalan restaurants delight in providing it, which seems odd in the mountains; it is delivered fresh from the coast daily.

Nightlife is also well catered for there are plenty of bars and nightclubs, and most stay open until 4am. However, the clientele is generally a more sophisticated bunch, mainly Andorrans and Spaniards, and the “drink-until-you-drop” attitude of the mountain resorts is rare.

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