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Andorra has become a popular tourist destination in Europe. Andorra has several major ski resorts, including Soldeu/El Tarter and Pal/Arinsal. These are very popular with tourists from Spain, France and the United Kingdom, particularly because their relatively gentle slopes are ideal for less experienced people as well as families. Andorran ski schools are among the largest in Europe. Because it is not a member of the European Union, Andorra is able to sell a wide range of duty-free products, including alcohol, perfume and cigarettes. These are much cheaper than in neighboring countries, and are a lucrative source of revenue for the country. Andorra also has many hiking trails which can be explored during the summer months, when the snow has thawed.
Shrines and festivals are both key attractions to tourists. Romanesque churches and old houses of interest are located in Ordino, Encamp, Sant Julia de Loria, Les Escaldes, Santa Coloma, and other villages. The best known is the shrine of Our Lady of Meritxell, Andorra’s patroness, between Canillo and Encamp.
Pilgrims come from France and Spain to pay homage on September 8th, the festival day of Andorra’s patroness. Each of the larger villages has its own festival during which the sardana, Andorra’s national dance, is performed.
In 2003, about 3,138,000 tourists visited Andorra, of whom 72% came from Spain, a 3% decline from 2002. Visitors need a valid passport to enter Andorra. No visa is required.
A 2008 source asserts 10.2 million visitors.
In 2003, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of a stay in Andorra at $226.
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