Yesterday it was raining and I stayed inside all day researching my newest bonkers idea – moving to Andorra. Well, it’s not a big place, so if you need to know anything, you have a new expert on your Friends list.
1.Did you know, for example, that Andorra is a Principality headed by two Princes? One of these is French President Macron and the other is the Bishop of Urgell, in Catalunya. This makes Macron a monarch, something many French people think he acts like anyway.
2. The population of this tiny country is only 77,000 and the biggest town has less than 20,000 people.
3. This fact is yet to be tested, but apparently you can leave your expensive road bike unlocked outside the cafes in Andorra because crime of this sort is relatively unknown. Andorra has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
4. When choosing accommodation you need to consider the winter sun. According to one blog I read yesterday, you could very possibly end up with a place that has ‘minutes’ of direct sunlight in winter if you’re not careful. Here’s why.
5. Andorra is NOT a tax haven, but it used to be. To appease the EU they brought in some income tax (max 10%), but their VAT is less than 5% and corporate taxes are very low, as are ‘social charges’ (medical, mainly). Oh, and you won’t find cheaper booze and cigarettes within 2000 km.
6. Unlike its micronation sister, Monaco, Andorra is not an expensive place to live. I remember checking real estate windows the last time Shoko and I were in Monaco and it seemed hard to find an apartment for less than a million euros. Andorra’s prices are similar to the fancier neighborhoods of Nimes, one of the cheapest cities in France.
7. If you are a cyclist and you live in Andorra, you will have great legs and you will be an international traveller. If you want to do a long ride in Andorra, it looks like there are lots of great climbs, but few proper ‘loops’, so you’ll be going up and back a lot. Then again, for a country that is 15 km across, I guess you can’t ask for more.
If I remember correctly, the Spanish border is just an easy spin downhill from Andorra la Vella, and I imagine that a lot of rides would take you into Spain. To get to France directly you need to first climb the pass in the photo above, which nearly equals a Mont Ventoux ascent from Andorra la Vella. Of course once you’re in France you’ll have to do the same to come back, unless you loop around the country and come back through Spain.
In any event, bring your ID, because you may be stopped at the border.