Capital: Llívia Government: Autonomous Town Population: 1536 Currency: Euro Continent: Europe Official language: Spanish Area: 12.9 km2
Glance carefully at your map of the Spain–France border. Just 6km northeast of Puigcerdà, amid verdant meadows and little French villages, is Llívia, a tiny slate-roofed bastion of Catalonia beyond the main border between France and Spain. Under the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees, Spain ceded 33 villages to France, but Llívia was a vila (town), so, together with the 13 sq km of its municipality, it remained a Spanish possession.
In 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War, the government of France was in a position - due to the enclave being completely surrounded by French territory - to deny access to it to the victorious forces of Franco and let Llívia remain a free territory of the defeated Republican government. However, this was never carried out. In any case, such an arrangement would not have survived the Nazi occupation of France.
During the era of Francisco Franco residents required special passes to cross France to the rest of Spain. Today with these countries in the Schengen Area there are no frontier formalities and only nuisance cross-border infrastructure issues. Both countries share a hospital there, as well as other local initiatives. During the 2017 Catalan declaration of independence the town residents voted for independence. Due to its location, Spanish central government forces never came to the town.
Much more than just a cartographical oddity, this small town has a gorgeous medieval centre, a couple of worthwhile hotels and more excellent restaurants than you'd expect for its size. Most visitors arrive to hike the hills during summer or access winter ski resorts in the Spanish and French Pyrenees.