The Best Place to Live in Andorra

Andorra might be a small country, but in its 468km² there’s plenty of variety for every taste.

From the busy city of Andorra la Vella to the idyllic countryside of Ordino, you’ll find that sweet spot to call home in our beautiful country.

But if you haven’t had enough time to explore every possible option, how are you going to find that wonderful place?

Luckily for you, we have compiled a thorough review of every comu, showing you the ins and outs of the regions and why you should consider them as your best place to live in Andorra.

Andorra la Vella

Area: 12km²
Elevation: 1,023m
Population: 22,256

The smallest parish in Andorra is actually the capital of the principality and the most populated. Andorra la Vella is the busiest city of the country and you can find everything in one place.

For those coming from large crowded cities you’ll find Andorra la Vella quite tame and peaceful, but during the high seasons and tourism weekends it can get really busy.

If you’re trying to find a property in this comu, you’ll mostly find apartments though there are some beautiful villas and chalets on the Northern side of the valley.

Event in Andorra la Vella
There’s always something going on in Andorra la Vella. If this is important to you, it could be the right place for you. Image: Diego Delso, Muñeco de nieveCC BY-SA 3.0

Pros

  • Andorra la Vella is a complete city like any other European city – You’ll find banks, schools, the government offices, supermarkets, shopping districts, bars and restaurants, there’s everything in this comu.
  • All these facilities and establishments are within walking distance, so you won’t need to use transportation as often.
  • Lots of events happening at all times during the year to keep you and your family entertained.

Cons

  • Everything is pretty packed so the city can get really busy, especially during the seasons when it gets crowded.
  • If you’re going to live here make sure that your property has access to a parking spot, since they are limited due to space.

Best Areas of Andorra la Vella

You might want to check the Northern side of the comu, which is a lot quieter than the city yet still very close. Not only are you likely to get plenty of sunlight, you’ll have a great view over the city.

Canillo

Area: 121km²
Elevation: 1,526m
Population: 4,826

Canillo is the largest parish in the principality, and the one with the least amount of residents. If you’re searching for tranquility and nature, this is the place to be. In the center of the comu you’ll find a delightful town with all of its services.

By balancing tourism with farming and cultural traditions, you’ll be able to admire the wonderful landscapes of the countryside while still enjoy activities and services of the town.

It has a myriad of attractive places like Roc del Quer, the historical Museu de la Moto, and the religious Sanctuary of Meritxell Basilica.

Looking down on Canillo from Mirador Roc del Quer
Looking down on Canillo from Mirador Roc del Quer. Image: Alberto-g-roviMirador Roc del QuerCC BY 3.0

Pros

  • Despite being lowly populated, there’s still a large amount of tourists so you won’t feel isolated.
  • There’s gondola access to the Grandvalira ski resort, so if you’re looking to practice snow sports this might be the place you’re looking for.

Cons

  • The traffic to Andorra la Vella can be bothersome during peak hours, especially during the peak seasons.

Best Areas of Canillo

We recommend taking a look at El Forn, which although being only 5 minutes away from the town of Canillo, feels like a completely different place.

However, one choosing to live in El Forn should consider having a 4×4 vehicle to handle the steep roads, especially during winter when snow is unlikely to be cleared quickly.

Of course, the gorgeous Incles Valley is not to be ignored, but be aware that property there does not come cheap. Quiet little pockets like Ransol and Prats are also worth checking out.

Sant Miquel de Prats, Canillo, Andorra
With historic charm like this, Prats in Canillo is surely worth considering as a place to live. Image: pilimm21Església de Sant Miquel de Prats – 2CC BY-SA 2.0

Encamp

Area: 74km²
Elevation: 1,238m
Population: 13,521

Encamp is the border parish with France and the gateway to the Grandvalira ski resort.

There are two main towns in this parish, the community of Encamp, and Pas de la Casa. Commonly referred as the “working class” comu, this parish is generally cheaper than the rest of the country.

This is an opportunity, not a negative. If you’re looking for a modest life in Andorra while still covering every service and enjoying the natural splendor of countryside, Encamp could be the place for you.

Pros

  • There’s gondola access to the Grandvalira ski resort in Funicamp, towards the border with France.
  • Encamp houses a large variety of services, including schools, banks, a gym, supermarkets, and banks, while maintaining a cheaper price than other parishes.

Cons

  • Although they mix modern and antique architecture the centre of these towns, some expats feel it is not as beautiful as the rest of the parishes
  • Since Encamp has a higher population density than other parishes, it can feel quite busy.

Best Areas of Encamp

Vila receives direct sunlight all day long, allowing some properties to live without heating thanks to the sun’s blessing. Vila’s roads are in excellent condition, so if you constantly leave home it will make things easier during Winter.

However, these areas are fairly built up, so if you’re looking for something more peaceful and private take a look at Els Cortals d’Encamp. It’s beautiful in summer, but be careful during winter since roads can get difficult.

Could you live in Els Cortals d'Encamp? With views like this, we could!
Could you live in Els Cortals d’Encamp? With views like this, we could! IMAGE: Angela LlopVall de Ransol (Canillo) – 3CC BY-SA 2.0

Escaldes-Engordany

Area: 30km²
Elevation: 1,050m
Population: 14,395

The comu of Escaldes-Engordany sits right next toAndorra la Vella, which is why people commonly confuse this parish thinking it’s just a continuation of the capital city.

This region contains the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Nature Park, declared as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO, so you’ll find over 40,000 hectares of stunning nature, protected from man’s touch.

However, this does not mean the comu is just nature –the border with Andorra la Vella shares part of its commerce, housing the major shopping center, the hospital, modern apartments and residences, and a thermal spa resort.

Pros

  • You can choose your living scenario – either nearby busy Andorra la Vella and the city or closer to nature and its peacefulness.
  • Everything you can access from Andorra la Vella can easily be accessed by Escaldes-Engordany.
  • Similar to Andorra la Vella, there are plenty of events happening throughout the year.

Cons

  • The closer you live to the city, the worse traffic gets, especially during the tourism seasons.
  • Parking can be troublesome if your property doesn’t offer one, so be careful when deciding where to rent or buy.

Best Areas of Escaldes-Engordany

There are some fantastic properties in Els Vilars, but consider the road towards Engolasters, which is just five minutes away from the city and has some incredible properties with amazing views.

There are some spectacular places to live in Els Vilars, Escaldes-Engordany
Could you live in Els Vilars, Escaldes-Engordany? It’s a great spot. IMAGE: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga)Escaldes-Engordany. Andorra 111CC BY-SA 3.0

La Massana

Area: 65km²
Elevation: 1,240m
Population: 10,359

The parish of La Massana is associated with sports thanks to its proximity with Vallnord’s ski and bike resort, but there’s plenty more to see and enjoy in La Massana, from museums and churches to restaurants and bars.

If you’re looking for an English speaking community, you’ll find that in La Massana. It’s not uncommon to hear people speaking in English in the streets, especially towards the north in Arinsal.

Pros

  • Sport enthusiasts will feel at home during every season, with skiing, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, horse riding, and many more activities available in La Massana
  • The commune has almost anything you could need, supermarkets, restaurants, schools, and so on. So you’ll rarely have to go to Andorra la Vella unless you’re doing business down there.

Cons

  • The traffic can get congested during the peak hours and on busy days.
  • The main street of La Massana isn’t as attractive as the rest of the parish.
Quiet street in La Massana
Quiet streets like these are typical of many parts of La Massana

Best Areas of La Massana

Arinsal can be a great opportunity if you’re looking for an English community, especially since it’s seeing some resurgence thanks to the influx of new Andorran residents.

If you’re lucky enough to find a house there, Carrer Coma del Colat sees a huge amount of direct sunlight and is close to the center.

If you’re a cyclist or want to rub shoulders with the pro-cyclist or motorsport community, consider Els Oriosis of Anyós. It’s a popular spot for these guys and is as close as it gets to one of the most popular cycling routes, Beixalis.

Cycling at Beixalis in La Massana
Beixalis in La Massana is a popular place for cyclists and mountain bikers. IMAGE: Jase Rodley

Ordino

Area: 85km²
Elevation: 1,300m
Population: 4,858

The comu of Ordino has stunning scenic views of valleys, trails, and beautiful lakes, coupled with the preservation of historical heritage and rural traditions.

The main town of Ordino is a tranquil village that includes restaurants, multiple schools from the French and Andorran systems, the gymnasium, bars, a bakery, and other services. However, there are no supermarkets in the parish so you’ll have to drive to La Massana or to the city.

During the winter, the Ordino-Arcalis ski resort located to the north of Ordino is considered by many one of the best places for winter sports.

Pros

  • Beautiful landscape and sights, contrasting the gorgeous nature with the antique cultural heritage of the communities.
  • There are many options to live in small villages throughout the parish with close and friendly communities.

Cons

  • Potentially one of the coldest regions to live in Andorra.
  • There are no supermarkets.

Best Areas of Ordino

La Cortinada has a small golf course and it’s a beautiful place to live in, just a few kilometers to the north of Ordino.

El Serrat is a around 5 minutes further north and is an excellent place for those looking for bargain properties; however, it can be severely cold during the winter.

Near the French school you’ll find Segudet, which is a nice and quiet locality with all the services nearby, but you’ll pay for the privilege.

La Cortinada golf course in Ordino
Golfers will love La Cortinada, where a community golf course is located. IMAGE: MARIA ROSA FERREOrdinoCC BY-SA 2.0

Sant Julià de Lòria

Area: 61km²
Elevation: 908m
Population: 9,207

The southernmost comu of Andorra, Sant Julia de Loria, has the warmest weather in the principality due to the low elevation. Many of the large shopping centres and large stores are found in this parish.

Besides all the services and markets in the comu, you can also find the adventure park of Naturlandia, which offers several sports and activities for all ages.

Despite being considered “working class” by many of the expats in Andorra, those who do live there and send their children to the Andorran school have found the parish very welcoming, and the school to very progressive.

Pros

  • The border with Catalonia is just a few minutes away, so it’s as close as you can be to Barcelona’s airport.
  • The University of Andorra is in this parish.

Cons

  • If you’re looking to escape the summer heat of other countries, Sant Julia may not be the right option as this parish is consistently warmer throughout the year.
  • Some great chalets can be had cheap, but require a lengthy drive or steep walk to/from the center. It means you’ll likely need to buy a car for every day life.

Best Areas of Sant Julia de Loria

Depending on your needs it seems you have 2 great options in Sant Julia;

  1. Bixessari; a small town set in a valley next to Riu d’Os, on the road to Os de Civis. Thanks to it’s position next to the river, it’s much cooler in summer – perfect if you only plan on spending the warmer months here.
  2. Nearby Auvinya; if you’re looking for a quiet location surrounded by nature and plenty of sun, but don’t want to pay through the nose, this could be it. Here you can find a chalet with a large garage for the price of a penthouse apartment in Escaldes or Andorra la Vella.

The Best Place to Live in Andorra

Obviously choosing where to live in Andorra is a fairly subjective choice because there are no critical downsides to any parish.

You’ll be able to live comfortably and without any issues in any comu.

As a matter of fact, even in the most secluded areas, at most you’ll be 30 minutes from civilization on a heavy snow day, so even if you would like to settle down in the countryside you can be in the city in just a matter of minutes.

Perhaps more important for self-employed people, every home in Andorra has high-speed fibre optic internet, meaning you there are no real sacrifices to living in the countryside.

Living in Andorra is a wonderful experience where you’ll be able to settle comfortably while enjoying amazing experiences. Our sincere recommendation is that you explore the regions that cater to your tastes and find a place where you feel at home.

Want More Information?

Send me an email or give me a call, I’m more than happy to help you out with advice on a location that is right for you.

 

Feature Image: OhRelRiu d’Incles 01CC BY-SA 3.0