Andorra has one of the lowest Value Added Tax rates in the whole of the EU: just 4.5%. In theory, this should make it paradise for shoppers. In reality, while it’s good, it’s not quite paradise for shoppers.
Ignoring the shopping for a second, it is also a fantastic skiing destination in the winter and walking destination in the summer. Come for both of these things, and throw in a little retail therapy as a bonus, and you’ll have a great time in Andorra. Those that come just for the shopping, however, tend to go home a little disappointed.
The thing is, despite the low sales tax, Andorra isn’t the best place to buy things like a new iPhone or iPad. Electronics are often the same price, if not slightly more expensive than most other European capitals. This has a lot to do with the Euro too, which Andorra uses. When the Euro is doing well, the bargains aren’t as great for non-Europeans.
Online shopping has probably affected our expectations a little as well. Once upon a time, Andorra was known for being the place to buy cheap cameras. But that was in comparison to bricks and mortar stores. These days, you can get a pretty good deal simply by shopping online.
It is a good place to buy items that are taxed highly – cigarettes, alcohol, and perfume, for instance. There is a limit on the amount of cigarettes and alcohol you can buy, which is why people who come to Andorra purely for the shopping tend to leave disappointed (and only with a few hundred cigarettes).
It’s also worth noting that there are optimum times to come to Andorra, and this is when the sales are on. These sales happen twice a year, and typically run for around 2-3 months at a time. You can see a regularly updated calendar of when they are on here.
During the sales period, most of the clothing stores will have a sale on. Unfortunately, you won’t find all the big brands like Gucci and Prada represented here. Zara tends to be the shop that most people get the best bargains in, along with sportswear brands like Adidas and Nike.
Other things that tend to be good value are petrol, car tyres, motorbike equipment which is only really useful if you drive to Andorra.
In summary: come for the skiing and the walking, both of which are great, and visit Caldea Thermal Spa. Do pick up some cheap alcohol, perfume, or cigarettes, but don’t come to Andorra solely for those things.
Have you been to Andorra? Find any bargains while you were there? Let others know about your experience in the comments section below.
Photo source: Wikipedia