- Quality hotels
Your money goes that bit further in Andorra, so why not try a stay at one of Soldeu's luxury hotels?
- Shop 'til you drop
Take an afternoon off the slopes to enjoy Pas de la Casa’s range of shops – and low-tax price tags.
- Superb ski schools
English-speaking, BASI-approved instructors make Arinsal one of the best places to learn in Europe.
So what's it like?
The principality of Andorra is almost entirely mountainous and focused on winter tourism, with significant investment in recent years elevating its resorts above a reputation for low-cost party holidays. The result maintains lively nightlife in Pas and Andorra la Vella’s cheap shopping, but added fast new lifts, attractive accommodation options and more delicious mountain restaurants.
Linked ski areas
Andorra’s main ski resorts are linked together, with Soldeu, El Tarter and Pas de la Casa making up the extensive Grandvalira area, while Arinsal’s links to Pal and La Massana make up the smaller Vallnord area – totalling 303km of slopes between them.
New for Winter 18/19, the Tortuga and Les Deveses slopes have been extended and levelled to make skiing easier for families and beginners. And the Avet and Àliga slopes have been upgraded to host larger sporting events. Due to new snow cannons, 66% of the resort is now skiiable.
While most of the tree-lined and gentle gradient runs across these resorts are perfect for beginners and those progressing towards intermediate, anyone looking for steeper stuff and more off-piste action can find it up in Arcalis - offered on away days from most resorts.
Best for families – La Massana avoids much of the Andorran après in favour of easy access to the capital, plenty of family-friendly accommodation and easy starter slopes.
Best for après – Pas de la Casa is where much of the principality’s party profile stems from – with popular places like Paddy’s Irish bar and the Underground.
Best for beginners – Arinsal was one of the first European ski schools to be approved by British instructor qualification programme BASI and the slopes are nice and easy to learn on.
Best for intermediates – Soldeu offers lots of blue and red runs to explore, with the area east of Espiolets being especially good to build confidence on.
In terms of where to stay, the options depend on what kind of holiday you’re looking for. As the above recommendations explain – a younger, more cost-conscious crowd may favour apartments in Pas, while a family looking for more home comforts might prefer one of Soldeu’s hotels.
All of the above are a short drive or bus ride to the capital la Vella, which aside from the duty-free shopping, is also home to the Caldea thermal spa complex – well worth a visit on any day away from the slopes.
Half the fun of a trip to the Pyrenees is that it’s not the Alps – with all the price, culture and cuisine differences that entails. Pyrenean mountain culture is certainly a bit rougher round the edges, with ancient villages, whose inhabitants haven't changed their lifestyle in centuries, dotting the valleys.
Being squeezed between France to the north and Spain to the south – along with the obvious local Catalan influences – makes for a really unique alternative to your usual ski holiday.
Food and drink
Sangria and tapas after a long day on the slopes, instead of vin chaud and fondue?
If that sounds good, then you’ll love the mixture of local cuisine. Of course, with the number of British ex-pats in Andorran resorts, you can usually find a proper cup of tea and a fry-up if that’s the only thing that will get you out on the snow.