Andorra’s 70 mountains are dotted with simple wooden refugios, or shelters. In the southeastern valley of Madriu-Perafita-Claror, the six-room Refugi de l’illa is among the highest in the country and only reachable by helicopter in winter (not surprisingly, cell service is limited in the area). A former house for construction workers, the 1930s building has been converted into a modern mountain hut with Scandinavian-inspired light wood interiors and shared bunks with windows showing off views of the surrounding snow-drenched scenery.
Where to Eat and Drink
Zero-kilometer cuisine isn’t a trend here—it’s a way of life in Andorra’s patchwork of valleys, where seasons dictate what’s on your plate. In winter, hearty escudella (a vegetable, meat, and sausage stew) and trinxat (which some consider the national dish), a latke-like pancake of mashed cabbage, potatoes, and bacon, are staples. Trekking along the nearly 200 miles of high-altitude trails, you’ll notice wild blueberries, chanterelle mushrooms, and stinging nettle—which is crushed into pesto, blended as soup, or dried and sprinkled on venison or lake trout—sprouting along the well-groomed paths. In March, as the snow melts, a local dandelion plant called xicoies—which is only in bloom for about two weeks—is plucked and pan-fried with bacon and pine nuts.
A few dozen bordas across Andorra now open up as restaurants serving traditional dishes like sauteed favetes (broad beans) with ham and mint and venison carpaccio. Book a table at Malandra, a favorite for its Argentine-style grilled meats, or rest your legs after skiing in Grau Roig at the scenic Refugi del Llac de Pessons, whose outdoor terrace sits on the edge of the namesake lake. Dishes here range from classic to contemporary Andorran fare with a heavy focus on chargrilled meat like Wagyu beef. For fine dining, try wine-focused Beç or head to Kökosnøt in the capital Andorra la Vella for a seasonal menu of elevated takes on regional favorites, such as embutidos (house-cured sausage) and 42-hour-cured cow tongue dipped in activated charcoal that’s served on a pine sprig-topped slate platter.