We’ve been to Andorra several times in winter, to ski, but it never occurred to me to find out what happens there in the summer. It turns out that A LOT happens – especially given how tiny it is (it’s the 16th smallest country in the world).
We started off in Andorra la Vella’s Caldea spa – Europe’s largest, with a vast indoor pool, little Jacuzzis in dishes that sit above the water, an outdoor pool, saunas, steam rooms and various cold pools that the kids loved daring each other to dunk themselves in. The pools are filled with mineral-rich thermal waters that come out of the ground at 68°C, making them the hottest in the Pyrenées. Kids aged five and up are welcome at the spa, and even with ours (and others) playing hide and seek around the pools, it still felt like a calm and relaxing environment.
One of Andorra’s main family attractions in summer is the Naturlandia activity park, split between two sites at 1600m and 2000m. All activities are included in the single ticket price, and there’s plenty to keep the family busy all day, including mini jeeps, Airtrek (a giant climbing structure with a zipwire) and Tobtronc – Europe’s longest summer luge, with individual free-running rollercoaster carriages running down a 5.3km track through the forest. There’s also an animal park including brown bears in a large, natural-looking pen with trees, rocks and all the other things you imagine bears might want.
But the main reason we decided to try out Andorra in summer was the hour-long Cirque du Soleil shows every night in July and August (a different one each year for the past three years). You do have to book in advance, but standing tickets are free and seated tickets are a fraction of the usual Cirque prices. This year’s ‘acrobatic and metaphoric journey through the legends of Andorra’ had all the fabulousness of a full-length performance, including acrobats leaping from giant swings, stunning staging and masses of ooh-inducing moments.
Having never ventured further along the valley than the ski resorts on our previous trips, I had no idea that Andorra la Vella is actually a mid-sized town with lots of shops and plenty of restaurants, many offering good three-course menus for around €15–20. We stayed in the Holiday Inn, which is centrally located with comfortable, larger-than-average family rooms plus five more expensive suites with separate rooms with bunk-beds for kids and maritime, circus, space, forest or oasis-themed décor. In the basement is a (tiny) pool, a sauna, a small soft-play/ball-pit area and a playroom with supervised activities from 4pm in the school holidays.
Sadly, we we didn’t have time to try out Andorra’s many other activities, which include mountainbiking, canyoning, horseriding, canoeing, hiking and, of course, shopping. All the more reason to come back again soon.
Read more about family holidays in Andorra.