So it appears that I am somewhat addicted to mountain getaways. Less than a week after my weekend skiing in Saint-Lary, I was packing my suitcase for another overnight stay in the Pyrenees. This time, I was heading to the pretty little country of Andorra!
The saying goes that good things come in small packages, and I personally can’t think of a phrase that describes Andorra more perfectly than that. Nestled inside the Pyrenees Mountains, Andorra is a teeny tiny country that sits just in between France and Spain. Most people head there in the winter months for its wonderful ski resorts, but since the life of an Erasmus student is so terribly difficult and tiring, we decided that we simply must treat ourselves to something a little more relaxing, I mean, we deserve it right?
It turns out that the idea to go on a spa weekend was probably one of the best ideas I have had so far on my year abroad, so I wanted to share everything that I got up to during my weekend of being pampered in the Pyrenees!
We got the bus from Toulouse at 10:30 ready for a 3.5 hour journey to Andorra la Vella. Luckily, being surrounded by the beautiful mountain scenery meant that the journey didn’t feel like 3.5 hours at all, and soon enough we were checking in to our hotel!
Naturally, the first thing on our minds was food when we arrived, so we headed straight out into the centre to find a restaurant. A ten minute walk later and we were in luck, sitting down at the 120 Andorra for a much-needed bowl of pasta.
After satisfying our stomachs, we did a bit of exploring around the centre. Andorra may be tiny but it was surprisingly commercialised, with a selection of high street shops including Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear and Mango! The best thing about shopping there is that the items are tax free, meaning that the labels showed the normal price, and then a cheaper ‘Andorra price’ underneath: a shopaholic’s paradise!
I had never walked through a high street with mountains in the background before now, but I definitely wasn’t complaining about that view.
We spent the next few hours walking around the centre and seeing what this pretty place had to offer. Admittedly, the centre was quite small overall, but there was a good selection of shopping and definitely enough to see during our first afternoon there.
Up and coming girlband?
After checking out La Vella, we decided to get a cheap bottle of wine and have some drinks at our hotel room (student budget and all that). Well, it turns out that going in to that little corner shop was one of the best decisions of the weekend because we all made a new, adorably fluffy friend…
After spending far longer than we needed to cuddling the shopkeeper’s dog, we finally headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
After seeing a huge billboard advertising raclette, we simply couldn’t get the idea of molten cheese out of our heads (and stomachs). If you’re going to the mountains, you may as well embrace the clichés, so we decided to search for a restaurant that served cheese fondue. After a little searching we came across an absolute gem of a restaurant called Cheese’s Art. Essentially, an entire restaurant dedicated to cheese. Yes please.
Our fondue fantasies were fulfilled as we enjoyed dipping bread and meats into a classic Swiss fondue, as well as a melted camembert! Not to mention the gorgeous chocolate fondue we had for dessert.
Can you tell how excited I was about the fondue?
This restaurant was so cool and I’m so glad we managed to find it. With a lively atmosphere, great food and a quirky take on ‘old fashioned’ decor, I highly recommend this restaurant to anybody visiting Andorra!
After falling into a cheese and wine coma on our first day in Andorra, we ended up getting a fairly early night, so we were able to wake up bright and early the next day to get ready for the main event…the spa!
But first things first, food.
We had spotted a cereal cafe the day before so we decided to go there for breakfast before heading to the spa.
Armed with basically every different type of cereal, we had the choice of any combination we could imagine. I decided to opt for the lucky charms milkshake because I love them, and as any English person knows, they are ridiculously over priced in the UK, so I don’t have them often.
I hate to admit it, but this milkshake really wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be. I had anticipated a vanilla milkshake with lucky charms on top…what I got was literally blended lucky charms with milk. But hey, at least it looked pretty.
After breakfast it was finally time to head to the spa and we were all so excited!
Research told me that Andorra’s Caldea spa is actually one of the biggest in Europe and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The entrance to the spa featured the somewhat controversial artwork of Philippe Shangti followed by a beautiful hallway that lead to the main area.
With indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzis, thermal baths, saunas, steam rooms and more, there was so much for us to discover in our morning here- and that was only with the limited access ticket! We purchased the cheapest ticket for €37 (€41 including an optional bath robe hire), and this allowed us three hours with access to all the things I listed above.
We spent the morning relaxing, taking in the amazing views, and trying out all of the facilities. I don’t really have many words to describe this spa other than amazing. It really was an experience to remember and I’m so glad we went. You could also pay to have your phone waterproofed at the spa, with a machine vacuum sealing a waterproof case around your phone, meaning the screen was still easy to use! I opted to do this because the spa was simply too beautiful not to take photos.
So with that in mind, I think I’ll stop talking and let the photos speak for themselves…
So yeh, I think you can probably agree that amazing is the perfect word to describe this place.
When our spa morning was sadly over, we collected our luggage from the hotel and started walking back to the bus station, having enough time to enjoy lunch in front of the mountain views for one last time.
And so, our spa getaway came to an end. It was a brief visit to Andorra, but I personally think we had the perfect amount of time there as the centre itself is lovely, but you only really need one day to explore it.
What also made the weekend that much better was the amazing weather. Both days gave us glorious sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures, making the mountain scenery that little bit more beautiful!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my little break to Andorra. If you ever find yourself near to this little country then I highly recommend that you pay it a visit! As for La Caldea, well it was my first ever experience at a spa, and it was an experience that’s going to be very hard to beat. If you ever get the chance to go, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
P.S. If you’re looking for budget friendly accommodation near the spa, then I highly recommend The Kyriad Andorra Comptes d’Urgell. We payed just €18 each for a spacious 4 bed room in the perfect location: right next to the spa and a short walk from the centre!
P.P.S For more photos of my travels, check out my instagram !