Driving routes to Pas de la Casa & information about crossing the border
A small country nestled between France and Spain in the heart of the Eastern Pyrenees, Andorra hides a thousand and one secrets that attract more and more visitors each year. If you are heading from France to Pas de la Casa, the Principality’s first village after the border, you need to travel through Ariège, France. Be careful though: the roads that take you through the Port of Envalira are very steep, so it is important to check road conditions and be sure that there are not any closures in Pas de la Casa and the border between the two countries, especially in winter!
How to get to Pas de la Casa
Until the beginning of the 20th century, the territory that is now known as Pas de la Casa did not have any housing. There was only a shepherd’s hut called Pas de la Casa, which means “passage of the house” in Catalan.
One hundred years later, Pas de la Casa has become a village and a small dynamic urban area with about 3,000 inhabitants. It is part of the parish of Encamp, located an elevation of 7,217 ft (2,200 m).
Pas de la Casa: How to get there, border crossing and Andorran customs
From France, the road to Pas de la Casa takes you through the famous mountain pass, Port d’Envalira, whose summit reaches an elevation of 7,903 ft (2,200 m).
The magnificent roads in the French department of Ariège zig-zag run through Ax-les-Thermes, 18 mi (30 km) south of the mountain pass’ peak. Approximately 328 feet from the border, you will go through L’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre, a small town that features the last stop on the French railway. If you arrive here by train there are shuttles that can take you to Andorra.
There is a second road that brings you to Pas de la Casa if you come from Spain, via Seu d’Urgell. The border is located on the N145 at Farga de Moles.
How to get to Pas de la Casa and the Principality’s 7 parishes
The Principality of Andorra is divided into 7 administrative districts called parishes. The road from Pas de la Casa leads you to Encamp, which is the home of the famous Grandvalira ski resort.
The Principality’s other parishes are as follows: Canillo, Ordino, La Massana, Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany and Sant Julià de Lòria.
When you are in Pas de la Casa, there is only 25 mi (40 km) separating you and the Spanish border in Farga de Moles. It only takes an hour to drive across the country, a little more in peak traffic!
Other means of transportation
As stated earlier, you can access Pas de la Casa by train with a short shuttle ride at the end of the trip.
You can fly, even though there is no airport in Andorra. The nearest cities with airports are Toulouse, France (93 mi / 150 km and 2 hours drive) and Barcelona, Spain (136 mi / 220 km and 3 hours drive to Saint Julià de Lòria). There are several different buses that can take you to the Principality.
Road information, passing the border in Pas de la Casa and Andorran customs
In winter and summer
From November to April - Watch out for snow!
Be vigilant about getting information and listening carefully to the traffic reports when you are planning to drive to Pas de la Casa in the winter. Getting to and driving up the Port of Envalira mountain pass can be complicated due to winter weather and snow. When you leave the valley after Ax-les-Thermes, you will very quickly ascend to high altitudes.
Please note that from November 1st until the snow melts in the spring, special equipment (chains, snow tires) is mandatory and must be stored in your vehicle within easy reach. Sudden snowfalls and heavy frosts can occur suddenly.
There are regulations concerning car weights and if you exceed them it will cost you a fine of 180€ for light vehicles and €500 for large trucks over 3.5 tons!
It should be noted that the Envalira tunnel, created in October 2002, allows you to avoid the top of the mountain pass and brings you directly to Grau Roig, which marks the beginning of the descent into the valley towards the capital, Andorra la Vella.
How to get to Pas de la Casa in summer
During the summer season, it is also strongly recommended to keep informed of road information concerning access to Pas de la Casa and crossing the Principality. In August, traffic jams at customs are frequent. The times to avoid are between 9 AM and 4 PM and between 5 PM and 8 PM.
Andorran customs and authorized commodity quotas
Andorra is not part of the European Union. You will therefore need to present a passport if there is a customs check.
Traffic and border information at Pas de la Casa: hours and customs
The Principality’s borders with France and Spain are open 24 hours a day. Here is the information you need to know for transporting goods in and out of the country:
- Andorra Customs (La Farga de Moles and Pas de la Casa): open from 7 AM to 8 PM
- Spanish Customs, La Farga de Moles (Spain): open Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 8 PM and on weekends from 9 AM to 8 PM
- French customs: open 24 hours a day
The authorized purchase limits
Pas de la Casa is a year-round destination for shopping due to the country’s advantageous prices. However there are regulations concerning the quantity or value of goods taken out of the country. If you exceed the authorized quantities you will have to declare your purchases and pay additional taxes. The following lists the tolerance levels defined by Andorran legislation:
- Purchase value: €900 per person (€450 for children under 15 years of age)
- Cigarettes: 300 units
- Cigarillos: 150 units
- Cigars: 75 units
- Rolling tobacco: 400g
- Coffee: 1,000g
- Tea: 200g
- Still wines: 5 liters
- Beverages with more than 22% alcohol: 1.5 liters
- Drinks 22% alcohol or less: 3 liters
- Perfume: 75 ml
- Eau de toilette: 3/8 of a liter
- Powdered milk 2.5 kg
- Condensed milk 3 kg
- Fresh milk 6 liters
- Butter: 1 kg
- Cheese: 4 kg
- Sugar: 5 kg
- Meat: 5 kg