A guide to duty-free shopping in Andorra

Duty Free

Many people in the UK still remember the days when duty-free shopping was one of the bonuses when taking a holiday elsewhere in Europe.

Travellers to countries such as Spain and Portugal could pick up bargain products free of duty or VAT. That all ended when duty-free shopping was scrapped within the European Union’s single market over 20 years ago, as discussed on BBC.com. Now duty-free shopping is only available to travellers coming from outside of the EU. However, soon, this might also include the UK once again – depending on what Brexit deal is agreed.

Duty-free still possible in Europe

There are some European holidaymakers who still enjoy duty-free shopping on their annual holiday – this is because they choose Andorra as their destination. Not only is it one of the most stunning holiday locations in Europe but it also enjoys tax-free status.

The Principality of Andorra is not a member of the EU, but uses the Euro as its currency and is also a member of the European Economic Community. It has enjoyed tax-free status for many years and most of its income comes from tourism and banking.

Mountain haven

The capital city, Andorra la Vella, has a population of around 23,000 and boasts more than 400 shops offering tax-free goods, many aimed at the tourist market. Nestled in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain, it is the highest capital city in Europe. The country boasts top-class ski resorts and an endless choice of outdoor activities suitable. That, combined with its tax-free shopping status, attracts more than 10 million visitors each year.

Andorra tax

Many companies base their companies in the Principality to enable them to trade tax-free and sell products that may be banned in certain EU countries. A good example of this is TaxFreeSnus.com, who offer worldwide shipping on the popular Swedish smokeless tobacco products.

When shopping over the counter in stores in Andorra, there is a small VAT tax applied. Depending on the product or service, this can be as low as 1% (food, newspapers, books etc.) or as high as 4.5 % (clothes, electrical goods etc.) but, as the FinancialTimes.com illustrates, it is much lower than the VAT rates applied in other countries where rates of 20% or more are common.


As you can imagine, the high street in Andorra la Vella is brimming with designer brands. You’ll find women’s and men’s fashion from the likes of Lacoste, Benetton, Levi’s, and Spanish brands such a Zara, Desigual, and Loewe. Furthermore, those looking for jewellery, watches, and handbags will not be disappointed with a trip to Gallery Andorra.

Food & drink

Supermercat Sant Moritz is the premium destination for gourmet food items such as Spanish Jamon and wines and spirits from France, Spain, and beyond. Prices are extremely competitive and many French and Spanish shoppers from across the borders can be found filling their trolleys.

Sports & more

You’ll also find sports shops with a big emphasis on skiing, cycling, and mountaineering equipment. Many of these are located outside of the main city, closer to activity resorts. This is a great opportunity to save a lot of money on high-value items such as bicycles and ski equipment.

Finally, you might want to plan your trip in April or November when the capital hosts its shopping festivals. Prices get even lower and there are plenty of special events organised to keep visitors amused.