While I try to keep my itinerary open for spontaneous adventures, I usually end up booking a few day trips in advance. However, when exploring top day tours in Barcelona, I could not resist booking this day trip listed on Viator: visiting three countries in one day. A full-day adventure, this tour visits a medieval town in Spain, a spa town in France, and the capital of the micro-nation Andorra. This day road trip explored these regions throughout the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains and gave us a taste of each country.
1) Bagà, Spain
Departing from Barcelona bright and early, our first stop was in the sleepy village of Bagà, Spain. This Spanish municipality was discovered in the Middle Ages, during the 9th century A.D. when the region of Berguedà was repopulated by Wilfred the Hairy. The town was redesigned in the 13th century by Galceran IV de Pinós and began growing rapidly during the 14th century. Bagà centered on the textile industry and mining during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. However, today, the village’s economy focuses on rural tourism and winter sports, and has a population of around 2,100 residents.
Prior to this day tour, I had spent my trip staying in and exploring Barcelona city. It was refreshing to explore and learn some history of rural Catalonia, while grabbing a cup of coffee and stretching our legs before venturing off to our next two countries.
2) Ax-les Thermes, France
When thinking of France, most people picture exploring iconic Paris and the Eiffel Tower. However, the commune of Ax-les Thermes paints a different picture of a more rural France. Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, this spa resort boasts three water-cure establishments specializing in the treatment of rheumatisms and respiratory problems. No trip to this village is complete without dipping your feet into the thermal spa!
Besides the thermal spa, this resort town is also primarily known for its 80 kilometers of ski trails. After a long day of skiing, one can enjoy time in the area’s only casino, including a bar and cinema.
3) Andorra La Vella, Andorra
I’ll be honest, prior to booking my adventure to Spain, I had never even heard of the country of Andorra. This tiny micro-nation is nestled between Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains, however is not a part of the European Union (despite using the Euro for currency). It takes approximately 40 kilometers to drive from one side of the country to the other! It is the only country in the world with its official language being Catalán (also spoken in Barcelona) and is a major producer of tobacco products. It is also a very peaceful country, not having been in a war in over 1,000 years!
Andorra is primarily known for its ski resorts and duty-free shopping at the capital. Andorra la Vella is filled with interesting art, particularly the statue of Salvador Dali’s famous clock! The city even has a hard rock cafe!
While it was a long day on the road (13 hours of land travel!), it was quite enjoyable to learn about surrounding countries and the Pyrenees region, getting a taste of Andorra and southwestern France. Next time I venture out to this part of the world, I will most certainly be spending a day in Andorra. If you’d like to explore three countries in one day (and have bragging rights!), you can book your tour through Viator here!