The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

Our guide to Andorra

So where is Andorra and what’s so great about it?

Picture perfect in Soldeu

Andorra is in the Eastern Pyrenees, bordered by Spain and France. The country itself is tiny, at just 181 square miles. Despite its tiny size, there are 2 fantastic ski areas on offer. Firstly, there’s the Grandvalira area with 210km of piste – which links the resorts of Pas de la Casa, Soldeu and El Tarter. There’s also the Vallnord ski area with 93km of piste covering the resorts of Arinsal, Pal and Ordino-Arcalis.

What’s truly great about Andorra is the incredible variety available. It offers a great mix of high altitude skiing, some of the best ski schools in Europe, incredible terrain for intermediates and a huge variety of après activities. Everybody is catered for in Andorra.

The crowning glory for this principality however might just be the incredible value for money. Andorra is perfect for a  group of friends going skiing and partying on a budget, a first time skier giving it a go without breaking the bank, and a great choice of luxury hotels that are affordable to stay in.

To top it off, last year saw the biggest snow fall in the past 20 years, showing skiers that snow fall in Andorra is as good as anywhere in the world.

If I have a young family, where should I go?

Arinsal is a paradise for families

Arinsal has some of the best family activities  you can find. The resort itself is friendly and lively, with plenty going on. There’s a huge variety of  après activities, including night sledging, snow shoeing and getting a go on a snowmobile.

What really does stand out in Arinsal is its lovely ski area. It’s renowned for its wide open pistes, which are perfect for the kids to learn and then quieter upper slopes that are perfect for the adults to explore.

The Vallnord area offers an all round great ski school package, from the safe and fun snow gardens for the very little ones all the way through to the Arcalis free ride school. It was voted as one of our best ski schools last season by our customers, so we always recommend people to give it a go. Likewise, if you have never skied before, Arinsal has a great all round first time ski package that won’t break the bank.

Strike it lucky at the Princesca Parc

Our favourite family hotel has to be the Princesa Parc . It’s got the perfect mix of facilities for kids and adults in one of the best locations. For the adults you’ll find an impressive spa, with pool, whirlpools, saunas and a variety of beauty treatments on offer. For kids, you’ve got a ten pin bowling alley, play areas, arcade games and pool tables. There’s also a kids club  providing daily childcare while the adults are out skiing.

I’m going with a big group of mates and I want to party

Pas de la Casa is an amazing all round resort

Pas de la Casa is known as the party town of the Pyrenees – it’s world renowned for its quality nightlife and been nicknamed “Ibiza on snow”. Add to this an array of accommodations to suit all budgets and of course the fantastic Grandvalira ski area and you get one amazing resort.

Pas sits to the far west of the Grandvalira area. It’s full of perfect intermediate skiing, with enough to challenge people both on and off the piste. It also benefits from snow gardens, beginner areas and 40 mountain restaurants which are cheap and good quality.

When it comes to accommodation, all you have to do is make a decision on what type you fancy staying in. Take your pick from 2 star apartments for the budget getaway or the 4 star hotels with great locations if you want just a little bit more luxury. Either way, Pas isn’t a huge town, so everything is nice and close, and thankfully close to the lifts.

If it’s the nightlife you’re after, visit one of the many Irish pubs, Andorran bars and clubs late into the night. Drinks are super cheap, so you can have a night out for the same price as 1 or 2 beers in some other parts of the Alps. Food is also great in Pas de la Casa. Try out the local restaurants for tasty food, favorites include chunky steaks and cheesy fondues, so a real mix from the neighboring nations.

Topping it all off,  Pas de la Casa is full of tax free shops selling a fantastic array of alcohol and every electrical item you can think of.

With all this in mind, it’s worth noting that nowhere is perfect.  Pas de la Casa is by no means a pretty resort but does exactly what you’d hope from a cheap resort – great skiing, great nightlife and great value.

I’m looking for a little bit of luxury, would I find it in Andorra?

Andorra has never really been known for its luxury hotels, but in recent years this has all changed. The village of Soldeu is the prettiest of the Andorran ski resorts, and is also part of the Grandvalira ski area offering a huge variety of skiable terrain.

Within Soldeu you’ll find a collection of great value for money 4 star hotels, brilliant locations, plenty of wellness facilities and all are great value for money.

Relax at the Sport Hermitage

Our favourite hotel that really does stand out against the rest is the Sport Hermitage & Spa.

This hotel offers customers free access to, possibly, the best wellness spa any winter hotel has to offer. It comes with 5 different restaurants, 2 Michelin stars chefs, private transfers by limousine from the airport and beautiful rooms with amazing views.

In 2013, the Sport Hermitage & Spa has been added to the prestigious group known as, ‘The Leading Hotels of the World collection’. And, it’s almost affordable.

Andorra has something for everyone

Andorra is a great country that offers fantastic skiing, superb value for money and allows you to have whatever type of ski holiday you want. For more info on each of the resorts, check out our website, or drop us a comment below.

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