Tucked in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, Andorra may be small but it’s got a lot to love when it comes to skiing. The two ski areas, Vallnord and Grandvalira, have over 300km of piste between them – perfect playgrounds for beginners and intermediates.
What’s the skiing like?
The ski schools are rated some of the best in Europe, with English-speaking instructors and nursery areas up the mountain – so you can ski with great views from day one. For first-timers, the Vallnord ski area is a good pick. Its 93km of wide slopes are ideal for building confidence on before you head further afield. If you’ve got a bit more experience or are keen to cover some distance, choose the Grandvalira ski area to explore 210km of rolling blues and reds. Each resort has one main lift and all the runs come back to the same place, so finding your way around is a doddle.
Where is there to stay?
Though they sit side-by-side in this small country, each resort has a its own appeal. Families and couples after a little luxury should choose Soldeu, a peaceful town full of pretty stone buildings and high-quality hotels – many with their own spas and kids’ clubs. Young groups flock to Pas de la Casa for its lively vibe and streets lined with bars, restaurants and shops. Or you can get a blend of both worlds in Arinsal. Quieter than Pas de la Casa, it still has several spots to drink and dance, as well as a range of places to stay, from two-star to five-star.
What’s the après like?
Pas de la Casa is the country’s party capital, where people head out after dinner and the cheap drinks and buzzing atmosphere keep things going ‘til dawn. Start at Club Mojito or Paddy’s Irish Pub on Bar Street and see where the night takes you. Though they’re more laid-back, Soldeu and Arinsal have their share of places to go too. Sing along with live music at The Harp in Soldeu or end your day with wine and tapas at Arinsal’s La Tasca.
Is Andorra expensive?
Lift passes, equipment hire and ski lessons are generally much cheaper than in the bigger-name resorts – thanks to Andorra’s duty-free status outside the EU. And value meets quality when it comes to the accommodation. Whether you opt for a self-catering apartment or a hotel, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. Mealtimes are wallet-friendly too and drinks cost a fraction of what they do in the Alps.
Visit Europe’s highest capital city
Hop on a bus to spend a few hours in Andorra La Vella, Europe’s highest capital at 1,023m. Take advantage of the low tax to hit the shops. Or relax in the lagoon pools and saunas of the Caldea spa – just look for the giant glass pyramid in the middle of the city.
Andorra ski offers
Get free lift passes for kids under 11 years in the Grandvalira ski area, and for kids under 15 in the Vallnord.
See you on the slopes.