Andorra la Vella is located high in the east Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. It is the capital of the small independent country of Andorra which has a history dating back to the 11th century. It’s main industry is tourism and it is know as a duty-free retail hub. It also earns considerable foreign income from being a tax haven with only a 4% tax. The country has about 70,000 inhabitants but in the winter hosts up to 6 million visitors. It is one of Europe’s most popular ski resorts. We stayed in a small hotel of 40 rooms named Arbella, located in the upper suburb of Ordino.
It’s therefore not surprising that our first ride was to the Col d’Ordino, because the road when right past our hotel. The Col is 1,980 metres above sea level but from our hotel it was a climb of 690 metres over 9.9 klms. It was a steady ride averaging about 7% gradient and I rode 20.5 klms in all over an hour and 35 minutes. The ride featured in the 2015 Vuelta (Spain’s version of the Tour de France) but I doubt that the riders had time to look at the amazing views along the way.