Overview of Skiing in Andorra
A picturesque Principality wedged between France and Spain, Andorra is a landlocked, mountainous haven that’s a hidden gem for skiers and snowboarders who want to sample pristine Pyrenees powder.
At a lofty 1023m, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital city in Europe and if you love bagging a bargain on luxury products you’ll be in seventh heaven here ̶ there are over 2000 luxury boutiques and it’s almost tax-free!
Grandvalira is the largest ski area here, with 210km of piste stretching between lively Pas de la Casa and salubrious Soldeu, where a swift lift takes you to a vast network of green, blue and red runs that reach up to 2600m. Meanwhile, the El Tarter sector boasts a brilliant snowpark with plenty of gnarly challenges for freestylers and snowboarders. Varied slopes, excellent snow quality and very competitive Andorra ski package prices make this one of the best places in the world to learn to ski and because it traditionally attracts many novice and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, there’s lots of space and tough terrain for advanced snowsports enthusiasts to explore.
Furthermore, although Andorra ski holidays are still cost-effective, in recent years there’s been a huge investment in the ski infrastructure here, with improvements to everything from the conditions of slopes and lift systems to accommodation, facilities and amenities.
The apres-ski is also excellent, with chic cafes, high-quality restaurants, lively bars and bustling clubs aplenty. A reasonably-priced, family-friendly, snow-sure ski destination with awesome accommodation, superb slopes, and luxury retail bargains sounds too good to be true, but you’ll be a believer after your first Andorra ski holiday.
No one’s better placed than Andorra ski package specialists Erna Low to introduce you to this sublime snowsports location ̶ let’s get going!
Best Ski Resorts in Andorra
Best for snow quality
The natural blessings of Andorra’s Pyrenees playground put it a step ahead of many ski location rivals, but over the past few years, making massive improvements to the existing setup has been a labour of love and nowadays many resorts here can rival established snowsports destinations in France, Austria and Italy. Here’s a rundown of some of the best features of Andorra ski resorts.
Naturally, snow conditions are all-important when you’re weighing up the ideal ski location and Andorra doesn’t disappoint. Here are a few highlights:
Andorra is generally snow-reliable, but Grandvalira ski area resorts like Pas de la Casa and El Tarter are particularly snow-sure, thanks to their location in the central Pyrenees and high elevation (this area’s resorts range from 1710m-2640m).
The ski season typically lasts from December through to April, therefore there are plenty of opportunities to book an Andorra ski break that fits your work schedule and coincides with school holidays.
The valley run is usually open right throughout the season, but on rare occasions when mother nature needs a little help with snow cover in Grandvalira, there’s an impressive arsenal of 1032 snow cannons, which equates to an artificial anow-making capacity on 65% of the slopes.
Best for family groups
Serene El Tarter is a fab family ski resort in Andorra ̶ a comfy and quick 10-seater cable car links you to the Soldeu-El Tarter piste network and there are some great nursery and entry-level intermediate slopes at the Espiolets Plateau gateway, which (appropriately) is the meeting point for ski schools, as well as a busy hub with great cafes and restaurants. Take note of the following tips too:
Kids aged 3-12 in El Tarter also adore skiing the Bababoom Circus forest route, which has fun obstacles, musical features, encourages steady progress in a relaxed environment and, best of all, is completely free to enter.
Meanwhile, confident intermediate skiers will find cruisy blues and thrilling reds over towards the Soldeu side at the Tossal de la Llosada summit, which is the highest point in the area at 2560m, while advanced skiers and snowboarders love the off-piste action at the vast powdery bowl above Riba Scorxada.
Best for groups of skiers or snowboarders
Both El Tarter and Pas de la Tarter have much to recommend them for groups of snowboarders and skiers. Here are a couple of notable highlights:
The El Tarter Snowpark is fantastic fun for snowboarders, and it has steadily evolved over the years to its current incarnation as a cracking 1.3km long course with various boxes, kickers and rails for riders of all abilities. Freestyle camps are also held here throughout the season where you can improve your technique under the watchful eye of pro coaches. A number of amateur and professional competitions are also held here, the most notable of which is the Grandvalira Total Flight ̶ if you’re in town while this meet is on, you’ll see some of the world’s top skiers and riders pulling off outrageous tricks!
Pas de la Casa is another great Andorra skiing resort for groups and with a resort altitude of 2080m, it’s the highest resort in the Pyrenees and a powdery dream come true for any skier or snowboarder who loves to carve up the slopes amidst stunning scenery. And there’s plenty of entertainment off the slopes here too, with bars aplenty and a couple of cool nightclubs where you can throw some shapes into the wee small hours. You’ll also find paintball and snowmobiles in Pas de la Casa, as well as a leisure and wellbeing centre complete with a swimming pool where you can relax those tired muscles after a tough but terrific day on the slopes.
Ski Areas in Andorra
Andorra has two ski areas, Grandvalira and Vallnord, both of which have their charms ̶ here’s the lowdown on what you can expect:
With 210km of well-groomed piste and top resorts Pas de la Casa, El Tarter and Soldeu, Grandvalira is the largest and best-known ski area in Andorra and offers high-altitude skiing for enthusiasts of all styles and abilities. Add family-friendly accommodation and facilities and eclectic apres-ski and excellent value for money and you’ve got the perfect formula for a ski area to be reckoned with!
With a skiable terrain of 93km, the Vallnord ski area in Andorra is considerably smaller, but offers some lovely cruisy blue runs on the Arinsal peak and you’re a convenient lift ride away from the fantastic forested slopes of the vertiginous Pal mountain if you’re yearning for fresh dumps of pow and more challenging adventures.
Seasonal Snow Conditions in Andorra
Snow conditions are uniformly good across Andorra’s Pyrenees peaks, but Grandvalira’s historical snow record makes particularly pleasant reading. In the most recent season, Andorra’s largest ski area had a total snowfall of 180cm, 19 total snowfall days, an average summit depth of 112cm, maximum summit depth of 170cm, average base depth of 46cm, maximum base depth of 80cm and largest snowfall of 40cm.
January and February are usually particularly powdery in Grandvalira, with snowfall tailing off towards March and April, although even at the end of the season, snow-making facilities mean that there’s still ample cover to get your money’s worth in the slopes.
In Andorra, apres-ski ranges from chic cafes serving tasty snacks to plush restaurants offering haute cuisine, and bustling bars boasting extensive beer and cocktail selections to bouncing nightclubs where revellers gather for good times. Here are some nightlife recommendations:
- El Tarter might be small, but there’s a surprisingly good selection of nightspots here. For starters, the Diamond Cala Bassa Beach Club brings Ibiza vibes to the mountains in a chilled-out cocktail lounge setting complete with comfy oversized chairs and sofas, ambient lighting and cool DJs on the wheels of steel.
Alternatively, Red Chillout is another vibesy El Tarter nightspot that really lives up to its name ̶ think cocktails, a sensual soundtrack and hammocks to really help you get into the swing of things!
When you really want to let your hair down in El Tarter, head straight to L’Arbarset, a massive open-air bar and club which attracts international DJs, expensive (albeit large) cocktails, and exclusive spaces for high-end revellers in the posh VIP Veuve Clicquot booth. This classy club also transforms into a busy breakfast bar from 8:30 each morning, where you can enjoy the perfect hangover cure in the form of a full monty fried breakfast.
- Over at Pas de la Casa, Cala Bassa Costa Rodona is a favourite haunt of those in the know. This beach-themed bar and restaurant has a little something to offer everyone, with lip-smacking cuisine made from the freshest ingredients served in the eatery and a bustling bar with a vast selection of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails. But that’s not all ̶ if you want to head into the great outdoors, husky dog sledding and snowmobiles are also available!
Coll Blanc is another unique gathering place in Pas de la Casa ̶ this space-age bar and restaurant is located right at the top of the TSD6 lift and the daytime vibes are all about authentic French cuisine, while crowds gather on the sun terrace from the early evening, where live DJs get the party started and the views are breath-taking (especially after a beer or three!).
Finally, no ski resort in the world is complete without a mandatory Irish bar, and Paddy’s Bar at Pas de la Casa doesn’t disappoint if you enjoy Celtic vibes, stomping tunes, great craic and a refreshing pint of the black stuff.
Ski Accommodation in Andorra
Erna Low can help you find the ideal ski accommodation in Andorra, with a wide range of apartments close to the slopes, featuring a range of facilities and suitable for all tastes and budgets. When you want somewhere calm, cosy and charming to rest in between on-piste adventures and apres-ski exuberance, there’s plenty of choice.
Andorra Ski Hotels
There are a number of diverse and delightful ski hotels in Andorra and the selection at Grandvalira is particularly good. Here are a couple of highlights:
Hotel Del Tarter is a super ski-in/ski-out hotel with comfy, traditional wood-panelled suites with scenic balconies and comfy furnishings. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout, a reading/TV lounge, breakfast buffet and super restaurant serving international and Andorran cuisine.
Hotel Font D’Argent in Pas de la Casa is a fantastic 4-star establishment where you’ll really feel pampered during your stay. Handily located just a stone’s throw from the Grandvalira slopes, the salubrious suites here are furnished to the highest standards of style and comfort, the restaurant cuisine is divine, there’s a wonderful wellness centre and super playgrounds for kids.
Hotel Meta at Pas de la Casa is a bijou, family-friendly hotel that’s comfortable and great value for money. There’s a 24-hour reception offering excellent customer service whenever you need it, free Wi-Fi throughout, a lounge where you can chill out in convivial surroundings and ample parking if you have your vehicle with you. This cute and compact hotel is also close by a few fabulous restaurants, including Chez Paolo Pas and Restaurant La Familia.
As you can see, the hotel choice in Andorra is definitely deep and diverse, so you’ll certainly find an option that suits.
Andorra Ski Apartments
If you appreciate independent holidaymaking, a ski apartment in Andorra is ideal and there are several options to choose from.
Residence Andorra Apartments in El Tarter is a self-catering complex comprising several three storey buildings affording panoramic mountain views. The El Tarter ski lift is a short scoot away from this comfy residence and there’s a handy ski bus which whisks you to the bustling restaurants, bars and cafes of the ski village in a couple of minutes.
Frontera Blanca studio apartments in Pas de la Casa are conveniently situated right at the foot of the ski slopes and furnished in a simple yet comfy style, with rustic wooden furniture and tiled floors. These self-catering apartments have well-appointed kitchenettes with kettles, toasters, hobs and microwaves and are available in configurations that sleep between 2-7 guests.
Appartements Solaris in Pas de la Casa are a popular self-catering option where super self-contained apartments have free Wi-Fi flat screen TVs, kitchenettes with all the mod cons, and ski-in/ski-out convenience. There’s an onsite bar and restaurant for those times you can’t be bothered cooking, and there’s ski storage and a ski shuttle close by.
When it comes to apartments in Andorra, Erna Low has you covered, and the above options are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Ski Flights & Transfers to Andorra
Self-drive and self-catering ski holidays are increasingly popular for ski holidaymakers who prefer to travel to and from their resort under their own steam and holiday in a bubble of family or friends. If you would like to find out more about self-drive ski holidays to Andorra, contact us and we can help you make all the necessary arrangements.
However, for other ski travellers, an Andorra ski flight and airport transfer is preferrable, and we’re more than capable of organising this option for you too.
There’s no international airport in Andorra, but you can fly to nearby airports like Barcelona and Girona in Spain or Toulouse and Perpignan in France, then hop in a comfy air-conditioned transfer vehicle and head off to your resort.
A number of UK airports offer easy connections to air hubs near Andorra, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol Liverpool, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Newcastle.
At Erna Low, we know that your ski holiday starts from the moment you leave home, which is why we’ll make sure that whichever way you prefer to travel, your journey is completely hassle-free throughout.
So whether you want to hop behind the wheel to get to Andorra or jet off into the blue horizon, we’re here to take the weight off your shoulders in terms of planning and organising.
Ski Passes & Other Extras in Andorra
At Erna Low, we specialise in hassle-free ski holidays, therefore we’re happy to organise your Andorra ski passes in advance so that you don’t have to queue up for them on arrival, but rather hit the slopes straight away.
Furthermore, we can often source great deals on passes for different types of groups, which helps you save more cash to spend on fun activities once you get there.
The same applies to ski hire ̶ if you don’t have your own skis or snowboard, we can source the best quality gear for your budget and ensure that every member of your group has the ideal kit for their style and ability waiting for them on arrival.
If you’ve never been before, skiing in Andorra is surprisingly good and the chances are that one trip to this legendary location won’t be enough!