Official name: Principality of Andorra
Area: 468 square kilometers (180 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Coma Pedrosa Peak (Pic de Coma Pedrosa) (2,946 meters/9,665 feet)
Lowest point on land: Runer River (Riu Runer) (840 meters/2,755 feet)
Hemispheres: Eastern and Northern
Time zone: 1 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 30.1 kilometers (18.7 miles) from east to west; 25.4 kilometers (15.8 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries: 120.3 kilometers (74.6 miles) total boundary length; France, 56.6 kilometers (35.1 miles); Spain, 63.7 kilometers (39.5 miles)
Territorial sea limits : None
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Andorra is one of the smallest independent countries on earth. It is a landlocked nation (does not have access to the sea) located on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France.
With a total land area of 468 square kilometers (180 square miles), Andorra is about two-and-one-half times the size of Washington, D.C. The country is divided into seven parishes.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Andorra has no territories or dependencies.
Andorra has a temperate (moderate) climate, but the winters are severe because of the high elevation. Snow completely fills the northern valleys for several months. Summers are generally warm and dry. Most of the country's rainfall occurs from October to May.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
Andorra's terrain (land) is rough and mountainous. Surrounding the mountain peaks, which often rise higher than 2,900 meters (9,500 feet), there are many narrow gorges and valleys.
There is very little level ground. All the valleys are at least 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level, and the mean (midpoint between highest and lowest) elevation is over 1,800 meters (6,000 feet).
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Andorra is a landlocked nation.
6 INLAND LAKES
Andorra has several small mountain lakes that are usually named after the highest nearby peak. For instance, the Tristaina Lakes are located near the Tristaina Peak (Pic de Tristaina) and Lake Estanyó (Estany de l'Estanyó) is located near the Estanyó Peak (Pic de l'Estanyó). The Circle of Pessons is a series of small glacial pools linked together and set in the largest glacial granite circle in Andorra. It is located near the Pessons Peak (Pic dels Pessons).
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
The Valira River (Riu Valira) is Andorra's main river. It has two branches and leads to six small open basins (areas drained by rivers).
The North Valira (Valira del Norte) is the northwest branch of the main river, flowing through the cities of La Massana, Ordino, and El Serrat. The East Valira (Valira d'Orient) is the northeast branch, flowing through Les Escaldes, Encamp, Canillo, Soldeu, and Pas de la Casa.
There are no desert regions in Andorra.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
Since most of Andorra is mountainous, there are no significant areas of plains, or flat land.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Andorra is located in the chain of mountains known as the Pyrenees. Because of its mountainous terrain it is a very popular site for winter skiing.
The highest mountain peak is Coma Pedrosa Peak (Pic de Coma Pedrosa), which rises to 2,946 meters (9,665 feet). It is located near the western point where the borders between Andorra, France, and Spain meet.
Further north along the border with France are the Cataperdis Peak (Pic de Cataperdis), which rises to 2,805 meters (9,203 feet), and Tristaina Peak (Pic de Tristaina), which rises to 2,878 meters (9,442 feet). To the east are the Siguer Peak (Pic de Siguer), with an elevation of 2,903 meters (9,524 feet), Serrera Peak (Pic de Serrera), 2,814 meters (9,232 feet), and Nerassol Peak (Pic de Nerassol), 2,533 meters (8,310 feet).
Near the southern border is Cabaneta Peak (Pic de Cabaneta), with an elevation of 2,818 meters (9,245 feet).
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
Archeological excavations have shown that the first inhabitants of Andorra were cave dwellers. The oldest known cave site in Andorra is the Balma de La Margineda, a rock shelter found near Andorra la Vella on the Valira River.
Archeologists believe that groups of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers lived here between the 10,500 B.C. and 5,500 B.C. Arrow tips, flint stones, bone tools, ceramic fragments, and human remains have been found here.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
There are no significant plateau regions in Andorra.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
There are no major man-made structures affecting the geography of Andorra.
14 FURTHER READING
De Cugnac, Pascal. Pyrenees & Gascony: Including Andorra. London: Hachette UK, 2000.
Morgan, Bryan. Andorra, the Country in Between . Nottingham: Palmer, 1964.
Taylor, Barry. Andorra . Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press, 1993.
Andorra, the Pyrenean Country. http://www.andorra.ad/angles/index.htm (accessed June 17, 2003).