A GUIDE TO SKIING IN ANDORRA

Categories Andorra

Proving that good things come in small packages, Andorra is a tiny principality tucked between France and Spain. It covers just 181 square miles across the Eastern Pyrenees, and is home to two main ski areas – Vallnord with 93km of slopes, and Grandvalira with 210km. It’s a popular pick for learners and there’s plenty of piste to challenge more experienced skiers too. And whether you’re going with mates or have the family in tow, you’ll find a resort and hotel to suit you. The crowning glory? It’s great value for money.

Choosing a ski resort

Best for beginners: Arinsal

Renowned for it’s wide, gentle pistes, Arinsal is the perfect place to take your first slide on snow. The ski instructors are a friendly bunch who speak great English – and the school was one of the first in Europe to be approved by the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI). When you’ve mastered the basics, you can head up the mountain to practise on the rest of the quiet, tree-lined slopes in the Vallnord ski area.

Stay: The Princesa Parc is a modern 4.5-star hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the gondola. After a day on the slopes, you’ll be glad to soothe sore muscles in the spa. And if you’ve got kids along, they can go wild in the bowling alley, play area and kids’ club.

Arinsal

Best for intermediates: Soldeu and El Tarter

Soldeu and El Tarter have arguably the best access to the Grandvalira. The two towns are just a few miles apart and have a ton of blue and red slopes right on their doorstep. They’re pretty high altitude, too – between 1,700 and 1,800m – so you’re likely to have good snow. If you’re building confidence on the slopes, Improver ski or board packages will help you develop your skills without breaking the bank.

Soldeu is also the prettiest resort, with chalet-style wood and stone buildings. The 4-star hotels are excellent value for money, and come with extras like swimming pools and spas.

Soldeu

Best for families: La Massana

Enjoy a more relaxed pace in this quiet resort. High-quality hotels sit close to the slopes, and half-board keeps mealtimes simple. The local specialities, like meatball stews and sweet cakes, are simple enough to please even fussy eaters – and you can always find a place for pizza or burgers if you fancy a change at lunchtime. Add in gentle Vallnord slopes and a great ski school, and you’ll see why La Massana is a favourite with families.

Best for groups: Pas de la Casa

Nicknamed ‘Ibiza on snow’, Pas de la Casa is the après capital of the Pyrenees. The little town is packed with bars and clubs, from the laid-back Red Lion sports bar to the buzzing Underground, host to live lounge sessions and DJs – and it’s great value, with drinks from just a few euros. Restaurants are equally cheap, serving everything from steak to fondue. And tax-free shopping means you can pick up a few bargain souvenirs too. If you make it to the slopes, you’ve got the whole 210km of the Grandvalira area to play in.

Stay: Perfect for groups on a budget, the Manzano Apartments are a simple self-catering option. Pas’s après is just minutes from your door. And they sleep up to eight, so grab all your mates for a party on the piste next winter.

Best for activities: Canillo

One of the smallest resorts, Canillo sits of the edge of the Grandvalira ski area. It’s got a relaxed atmosphere and access to the slopes via a gondola – but the real draw is the long list of non-ski activities. From ice skating and snowshoeing to dog sledding and reindeer safaris, this is an ideal base for all your wintery adventures. Don’t miss airboarding – racing down the mountain on an inflatable board – or the longest zipline in southern Europe, where you’ll fly at 80km/h, 40m above the ground.

Thinking of a holiday to Andorra? Take a look at our latest deals and get planning.

Writer for Crystal Ski Holidays.

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