Escaldes-Engordany (or les Escaldes i Engordany) is a city and one of seven parishes of the Principality of Andorra (in Catalan, Principat d’Andorra), a microstate situated between France and Spain, right in the heart of the Pyrenees. By the way, the other six are called Canillo, Encamp, Ordino, La Massana, Andorra la Vella, and Sant Julià de Lòria.
The city is the result of the union between two old urban centers in 1726: Les Escaldes and Engordany. On the other hand, the homonymous parish was only founded on June 14th, 1978. On this Escaldes-Engordany itinerary, you’ll discover tourist attractions and cultural activities, including the best things to do in Escaldes-Engordany!
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- Brief History of Escaldes-Engordany
- Visiting Escaldes-Engordany
- Escaldes-Engordany Itinerary
- Map of the Escaldes-Engordany Itinerary
Brief History of Escaldes-Engordany
As I mentioned in the introduction, the city of Escaldes-Engordany was once divided in two (hence the name). As far as is known, the first of the two areas to be inhabited was Engordany, around the 2nd-1st centuries BC. And, since then, this urban nucleus has been associated with agricultural and livestock work.
In contrast, there aren’t many references to Les Escaldes until the medieval period. But it’s very curious to observe that this second city took advantage of the existence of thermal waters to attract wool manufacturers – which culminated in the establishment of a rudimentary textile industry, around the 16th and 17th centuries!
Nowadays, the Engordany area is mostly residential. Meanwhile, Les Escaldes turned the thermal waters into a real tourist attraction, opening several hotels and spas. In addition, Les Escaldes is one of the main areas of Andorra dedicated to commerce, similar to the capital Andorra la Vella!
Did you know that you can visit Escaldes-Engordany on a day trip from Barcelona? Although the bus trip takes between 3 and 4 hours, the connection is direct and the landscapes are breathtaking! And if you arrive in Escaldes-Engordany relatively early, you’ll still have time to explore Andorra la Vella (both the city and the parish)!
“Calidea i la Dama del Gel”
This Escaldes-Engordany itinerary begins at the Rotonda del Túnel del Pont Pla, which separates not only the Avinguda Consell d’Europa from the Avinguda Esteve Albert, but also divides the parish of Andorra la Vella from the parish of Escaldes-Engordany.
It’s here that you can admire “Calidea and the Ice Lady” (in Catalan, “Calidea i la Dama del Gel”), a sculpture inspired by the legends and myths about water.
The figure of Calidea was created by the artist Àngel Calvente, while the Ice Lady (an equestrian statue of a sylph mounted on horseback) is a work by fellow artist Philip Lavaill.
Both elements are connected by a fountain, whose water freezes in the coldest months of the year, “petrifying” the sculptural ensemble!
Centro Termolúdico Caldea
The Thermoludic Center Caldea (in Catalan, Center Termolúdic Caldea), popularly known as Caldea, is a thermal spa, which opened to the public on March 26th, 1994. With a series of thermal lagoons, jacuzzis, saunas, Hammams, solariums, terraces, and exclusive spaces for adults or children, the Caldea is the ideal place to relax!
The Caldea building was designed by French architect Jean-Michel Ruols and features an 80-meter tall glass tower, making it the tallest building in Andorra. These days, it’s also considered the largest spa resort in Southern Europe, with almost 45 thousand m2 of the total area!
Check all types of admissions on the official website of the Centre Termolúdic Caldea!
The Charlemagne Avenue (in Catalan, Avinguda Carlemany) is the second most important avenue in Andorra – after the Avenue Meritxell (in Catalan, Avinguda Meritxell), in the city and neighboring parish of Andorra la Vella – so it couldn’t be missing from this Escaldes-Engordany itinerary!
About 500 meters long, the Charlemagne Avenue was named in honor of the ancient Roman Emperor (and supposed founder of Andorra, according to legend) and is home to a vast number of hotels, shops, restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and supermarkets.
As the name implies, Co-princes Square (in Catalan, Plaça Coprínceps) honors the two Coprinces (or Heads of State) of the Principality of Andorra. Do you happen to know who they are? The Bishop of Urgel and the President of the French Republic!
Since it’s located (more or less) in the middle of Charlemagne Avenue, this square is quite touristy and is surrounded by several cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.
Even so, I think that the main attraction of Co-princes Square is a steelwork called “The Eternal Gaze” (in Catalan, “La Mirada Eterna”), by the sculptor Jordi Diez Fernandez.
As you may have already noticed, this Escaldes-Engordany itinerary includes lots of contemporary sculptures!
Centre d’Art d’Escaldes-Engordany (CAEE)
The Escaldes-Engordany Art Center (in Catalan, Center d’Art d’Escaldes-Engordany) is housed in one of the most emblematic historic buildings of this city and parish. Built by the monks of Monserrat between 1932 and 1934, it was supervised by the Catalan architect Celestí Gusí.
Before hosting the Escaldes-Engordany Art Center, this location was the parking lot of Hostal Valira (currently home to the Carmen Thyssen Andorra Museum), a school, and the Cine Valira, the first movie theater in the country. Currently, it’s a cultural space where you can admire permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.
Esglèsia de Sant Pere Màrtir
The Church of Saint Peter the Martyr (in Catalan, Esglèsia de Sant Pere Màrtir) is one of the most beautiful churches in Andorra and is therefore a must-stop on this Escaldes-Engordany itinerary!
Its construction had two phases: one between 1952 and 1956, according to a design by the architect Josep Danés; and a renovation and expansion, carried out by the architect Jordi Bonet between 1978 and 1981.
This religious temple consists of a central nave and two side aisles, as well as a semicircular apse and an arched porch.
In the decorative elements, the neo-Romanesque style predominates. And the mural “Les Benaurances” (or “The Beatitudes”) that you see on the façade was created by the sculptor Sergi Mas Balaguer.
Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra
The Carmen Thyssen Andorra Museum belongs to one of the most important private collections in the world: the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Located in the busy Charlemagne Avenue, it features mostly paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Inaugurated in 2017, the Carmen Thyssen Andorra Museum has quickly become one of the most visited museums in Andorra, largely due to its temporary exhibitions, which are renewed every year. This way, tourists have an opportunity to discover new works of art on every visit!
Read my complete guide to the Carmen Thyssen Andorra Museum, a must-see tourist attraction on any Escaldes-Engordany itinerary!
Map of the Escaldes-Engordany Itinerary
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