For the perfect ski holiday, you simply need two things – reliable snowfall and mountains. It’s no surprise that Europe is renowned worldwide for having some of the best ski resorts on the planet. In fact, there are 3,771 ski resorts on the continent alone!
When skiing in Europe is mentioned, you usually think of the Alps in France, the Dolomites in Italy or St. Anton in Austria. But one skiing haven that is often overlooked is Andorra. It’s the 17th smallest country in the world – you could fit the whole of the country into the city of London, more than 3 times over! Nestled among the Pyrenees between France and Spain, this tiny nation has invested millions to create fantastic ski and snowboard holidays for snow-enthusiasts.
Read on to find out some of the best skiing resorts in Andorra, and why you should book your next skiing vacation there!
Andorra ski conditions
Andorra actually has a great snow record due to the high altitudes of the Pyrenees and the country’s investment in snow cannons. As a result, there are lots of ski resorts for travellers to choose from. The main ski areas in Andorra are Grandvalira (210km of pistes) and Vallnord (63km of pistes).
The season usually runs from December to April with a variety of good value for money holidays on offer from travel agents such as Esquiades.com. There are plenty of award-winning English speaking ski schools in the resorts, and one of the added bonuses of Andorra is their tax status. Shopping and dining out is virtually tax-free! If you fancy Skiing in Grandvalira with Esquiades.com, there are flights available to Lleida airport in Spain from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick airport.
Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig
Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig are situated on the other side of the Grandvalira ski area, near to the border with France. From this resort, you can access all of the 130 miles of slopes in the area, with runs to suit any level of skier. The two resorts sit next to each other but have very different feels to them, depending on what vibe you’re looking for.
Pas de la Casa is very lively and is known for its great shopping mall and après-ski scene. As a result, it is very popular among young adults, teens and snowboarders. Grau Roig is the opposite, with no commercial shopping centres and a very quiet feel to it. Instead, it houses a luxury hotel with a grand spa that skiers can relax in at the end of a busy day on the slopes. Grau also has a ‘Kids Forest,’ which is specifically aimed at younger skiers.
Situated in the centre of Grandvalira, this ski resort is one of the largest in Andorra and the Pyrenees, with over 130 miles of ski runs. Soldeu is also the most upmarket of Andorra’s resorts, with one-day lift passes costing £47 – but this does cover the whole of the Grandvalira region!
Unlike the steep, advanced red runs on Pas de la Casa, Soldeu is also great for beginner and intermediate skiers as it is full of blue-run slopes. Accommodation is more expensive, but it boasts a lively apres ski scene and a popular instructor school with ski hire. If you’re planning to visit Soldeu, the best snow conditions can be found between January and early March.
El Tarter covers the same ski area as Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, giving skiers access to all levels of runs. It’s a small village with self-catering and hostel accommodation, making it an ideal resort for those on a budget. El Tarter is also family-friendly due to the lack of an apres-ski vibe. There are lots to keep you entertained in this resort, with a variety of runs, ski schools and the famous El Tarter Snow Park on your doorstep.
Vallnord is smaller than Grandvalira, but it still has plenty of slopes to keep avid skiers entertained. The Pal-Arinsal ski resort is situated in the west of Andorra, with lots of high-speed ski lifts and gondolas to connect you to two other neighbouring resorts. One of the benefits of Pal-Arinsal is that it’s a ski-in, ski-out resort, so you can simply wake up and ski right from your hotel without having to take a bus to reach the slopes.
This piste has mostly blue runs, but there are few more challenging options too – it’s also great for free-riders as Pal-Arinsal boats a lot of off-piste and tree runs. If you’re looking for a family skiing resort, the Pal Arinsal is ideal, as not only is it close to the commercial centre of Andorra la Vella, but it also offers other winter sports such as sledging and mushing!