Andorra la Vella (map) is the capital of Andorra. At an altitude of 1023 m it is Europe’s highest capital, and the only one located over 1 km above the sea level. As of 2015, the city has a population of 22,886. The principal industry is tourism, although the country also earns foreign income from being a tax haven.
The town is really in two parts. There is the newer section at the north end of the town that is very commercial with lots of shops. The other half is the older half, down across the river and to the south and west.
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The city’s old town is characterized by old stone streets and houses. The central Església de Sant Esteve (Saint Stephen, map) church is part of the area that guidebooks often label as a picturesque part of the city. This was built in a Romanesque style in the eleventh century. It is a heritage property registered in the *Cultural Heritage of Andorra.
Probably the oldest building in the city is another church, dating from the ninth century, is the Church of Santa Coloma d’Andorra (map).
Don’t overlook the Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley (map). The cultural landscape of Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley, which was inscribed in the World heritage list in 2006, can only be accessed on foot. It offers great hiking and climbing possibilities in summer and in winter ski mountaineering or walking with snowshoes is an option.
One entrance to the valley is a short bus ride or just over an hour walk from the oldest part of Andorra la Vella. See *Escaldes-Engordany for details.