Ski the peaks of the Pyrenees in Andorra, a tiny principality between France and Spain. It covers just 181 square miles and actually has more piste than road, so you know the skiing’s got to be good. It’s especially known for having excellent beginner slopes and après – plus it’s great value too. Find the right resort for you from these top picks…
Best for beginners: Arinsal
For a beginner ski holiday, the 63km ski area above Arinsal is hard to beat. The ski school’s rated one of the best in Europe, with English-speaking instructors and nursery areas up the top of the mountain, so you can ski with great views and snow cover from day one. The wide slopes are perfect for building confidence on, especially the gentle blues on either side of the snow park, so do a few loops to practise the basics. You can take a break to watch others show off tricks and jumps in the park – and if you fancy giving it a go, there’s a beginner area with mini boxes and jumps.
When you’re ready to progress, your instructor will move on to the longer runs on the Pal side of the mountain, where you can carry on by yourself after your lessons end.
After skiing, head to one of the bars back down in the resort to listen to live music or unwind over a quiet drink with friends. The town’s fairly small but there’s range of places to stay, from 2-star to 5-star, so you’re bound to find something to suit your style and budget.
Best for après & groups: Pas de la Casa
Nicknamed ‘Ibiza on snow’, Pas de la Casa is the country’s party capital. The town is packed with bars and clubs – and après here is much cheaper than in the Alps, with drinks from just a few euros. After exploring the 210km Grandvalira ski area, from rolling blues to tricky black runs, head to the slopeside terrace at the Aparthotel Olimpiades to kick off the afternoon celebrations. Then in the evening, move on to Bar Street to keep the party going in Club Mojito and Paddy’s Irish Pub. If you prefer something a little more laid-back, go to the Red Lion sports bar or Underground, which also serve up delicious snacks in case you get peckish.
With so much going on – plus a range of great-value self-catering apartments – it’s no wonder Pas is so popular with groups too.
Best for families & luxury: Soldeu
Families and couples after a little luxury should choose Soldeu. It’s a peaceful town with one main street lined with pretty stone buildings and high-quality hotels, many of which have their own spas, pools and kids’ clubs. All of the accommodation is close to the main gondola, but for the best access, stay in one of the Sport hotels – they’re all actually connected to the lift station.
The gondola whisks you straight up to the ski school and nursery areas. And from there, you can head out to cruise wide blues and reds across the Grandvalira. Families especially will love the Baba Boom Circus route in the El Tarter sector, which has colourful obstacles and gates for kids. Then at the end of the day, ski back down to Soldeu on the long Bosc Fosc blue or the challenging World Cup black run, Avet.
Say ‘hola’ to Andorra and check out our latest deals to ski somewhere new this winter.