In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Andorra( Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times )
Andorra lines a high pass in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. I drove in from the north, noting the long line of cars headed in the opposite direction, stalled at a customs booth on the French border, where officials were opening trunks to inspect the loads of purchases leaving Andorra, a tax-free shopping mecca.
Pas de la Casa, the first town I came to, has a duty-free mall, like those in airports, and two route options for people going onward: a long toll tunnel or the switchbacking road I chose that crosses the 7,900-foot Envalira Pass before plunging into Andorra.
From there, the highway follows a branch of the Valira River past a chain of ski resorts, a hydroelectric plant and the monstrous, pinnacle-shaped Caldea spa complex to the nation's capital, Andorra la Vella, a densely packed modern city in a widening of the valley.
-- Susan Spano
Read more: Andorra, a country at high pass in the Pyrenees
Pictured: Lake Tristaina in Arcalis.