Never underestimate an underdog. Never think that you can “do small countries” in a few days. Andorra is bigger, mightier and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. Yes, Andorra is an absolute undermined underdog and I underestimated it big time.
After exploring Escaldes Engordany (where I stayed in the awesome Residencia Nuria Hotel and bathed in Caldea) and the capital city Andorra la Vella, I looked further afield. I decided to skip Andorra’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site in favour of a trip to this tranquil mountain village. Ordino. A magical place that blew my mind.
Getting to Ordino
I noticed two main things about Andorra’s internal bus network:
1. The routes are well worked out and easy to understand.
2. Buses are infrequent yet reliable and efficient.
With that in mind I simply went to a bus stop in Escaldes Engordany and waited for a bus. I could get a few buses to Ordino but obviously I just took the first one that came. That was a 6d bus and cost €1.80 for a single ticket. I didn’t enquire about a return as my travel is spontaneous and I wasn’t sure if I’d get the same bus back.
Bus from Escaldes Engordany to Ordino
Quite simply this is a glorious bus journey. Safe, smooth and scenic and just made me smile after months of Central American chicken buses, the luxury contrast was staggering. We passed a central electrical power station, went through a well designed tunnel and stopped on route in La Massana.
Within 20minutes we arrived in the awe inspiring village of Ordino. While its name resembles the word ordinary, this town enters the world of the extraordinary…you’ll stop and stare around yourself wondering if it’s all a dream. It would be too obvious for me to call this a “top 5” etc and while those posts are good for being concise and straight to the point they bore the hell out of me. So in point form here is what I did in Ordino…
1. Local Shop – Beers, Chat and the Film Reference
I needed some water so I popped into the local shop to buy a bottle. The shopkeeper, called Natalia wanted a chat. I didn’t tell her I write about travel or would write something about her but she was very welcoming and her shop sells some pretty cool things and we got chatting.
Postcards, Andorran souvenirs and Andorran beer (rare to find in fact). I was heading to Barcelona next to stay with my cousin Paul and his wife Nuria ( I hadn’t seen Paul for like 20years…). Natalia told me the story of how ‘Nick’ the film was filmed partly here in Ordino! Magic or what?
2. Post Office Museum
Weird enough to find a post office museum, never mind one here in Ordino! It’s combined with your visit to the Plandolit Manor, but the post office museum is free entry.
3. Plandolit Manor
This incredible old Manor House and gardens is now open as a museum. It’s 5 Euros for entry but totally worth it as it’s a guided tour.
Andorra is an amazing country for views. Here in Ordino, prepare to be blown away. I was there in October so it wasn’t cold, the sun shone over the valleys and mountains and I enjoyed the magnificent views and the fresh air. Simply admire…
5. St. Corneli and St. Cebria Church
A sparkling brick church dominates the main pedestrian street in tranquil Ordino. This 12th century Romanesque St. Corneli and St. Cebrià church and bell tower dominate the town’s skyline.
And with that 5 and without further ado, or the need to stay overnight (it was a short 3 days in Andorra for me), I headed back to the capital city of Andorra La Vella. I will never forget the pure beauty and magic of Ordino however. A true backpacking gem yet to be discovered by the masses!
Here are my videos from Ordino in Andorra: