If you’re after a winter getaway that’s a little bit different AND won’t cost you the earth, Andorra is ideal. You’ll find the landlocked principality high up in the Pyrenees Mountains, with just an hour of driving distance between its two borders.
People have been skiing in Andorra for decades, however, recent modernisation has elevated it to one of Europe’s most popular snow sports destinations. Affordable ski resorts are awash with awesome amenities, from thermal spas to authentic Andorran eateries, and it’s location between France and Spain gives it a truly unique cuisine and culture. The added bonus of low taxes makes everything - from hotels to shopping - much cheaper than your classic Alpine retreat, too.
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Found on Andorra’s western fringes, Arinsal is criss-crossed with over 60km of pistes, some of which reach over 2500m in altitude. It’s one of the principality’s smallest resorts, however, its stunning vistas and location between two charming mountain villages makes it particularly picturesque.
Another resort in Grandvalira that’s a playground for less experienced skiers is El Tarter. Almost half of its runs are easy blues, while a peaceful atmosphere and limited number of rowdy bars makes it a top pick for family groups.
Speaking of families, those with young kids will love El Tarter’s specially designed nursery runs. It’s additionally linked to Soldeu if you fancy having your pick of both resorts’ pistes.
Pas de la Casa in the Grandvalira region has built up a bit of a reputation as a party resort over the years. Nevertheless, its vast array of ski runs and contemporary infrastructure also makes it a popular pick for families and those after a stress-free getaway.
As the resort borders France, you can expect a slightly more French influenced ski culture. Pas de la Casa is also a paradise for snowboarders thanks to its board park, while beginner skiers will benefit from excellent ski schools with English-speaking instructors.
Linked with nearby Pas de la Casa and El Tarter by a network of state-of-the-art ski lifts, Soldeu now forms part of the huge 200km Grandvalira region. Its ski slopes are set around an attractive mountain village that’s home to some amazing restaurants and friendly live music venues.
If you’re hoping to hone your ski skills, you won’t be disappointed by Soldeu’s 10+ black runs and off-piste skiing. It’s also a prime area for dog sledding through spectacular snowy scenery.
Grandvalira in east Andorra is not only the largest ski area in the Pyrenees, but it also has the most snow-sure slopes in the region. There are over 100 runs (including 23 black) and opportunities for cross country skiing if you’re up for a challenge or keen to maintain their fitness.
Mixed ability groups and those hoping to get in the party spirit will be drawn to Grandvalira’s Pas de la Casa, although Soldeu is also a good shout for novice skiers due to its ski schools and handy gondolas which set off from the centre of the village.
The Vallnord ski area in west Andorra may be smaller than Grandvalira, but it still packs a punch with its pretty tree-lined slopes and lively resorts. Lower lying Arinsal is a fantastic location to learn how to ski due to gentle slopes and great ski schools, plus the FreeStyle Area is awesome for keen snowboarders (it even has a half pipe).
Vallnord is definitely one of the top regions in Europe to nab a cheap ski deal. It’s also only a short drive from La Vella for those in your group who may be more interested in soothing spas and shopping expeditions...
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I approached Packed with a work project, searching for a Ski trip for 50 people. Right from the beginning the customer service was super, within a couple of days I had 2 trips that fitted the criteria perfectly. Due to the nature of my job I was unable to progress quickly and was back & forth with questions and requests, but nevertheless Ed Mellor continued to be professional, extremely helpful and patient. There was never a delay is receiving responses to my many emails.
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I've booked with My Swft for the last 3 years, 4 holidays in total. This year was even better. The new online booking is really simple to be able to share with the group and get people to choose a location. Then everyone managing their own booking makes it even easier for the group leader!
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Very good service from the team at MySwft. Very responsive to messages and would highly recommend using them...I certainly will be again!
Andorra’s low taxes makes partying pretty cheap. For the greatest range of bars and clubs, you have to book a ski trip to Pas de la Casa. The largest of the Andorra ski resorts, it tends to draw in a younger crowd due to its pocket-friendly prices and ample late night après options.
Treating the kids to a winter break this year? Book a ski holiday to Andorra’s Arinsal or Soldeu resorts which have numerous family-friendly hotels and some epic off-piste activities. Both are also less than 45 minutes to Naturlandia, a must-visit ecopark in south Andorra where you can try things like dog sledding and snowshoeing for a very reasonable price.
Big group ski breaks call for resorts with an abundance of accommodation and pistes for all skiing levels. You can’t really beat Pas de la Casa as not only is it massively varied when it comes to its runs, but there’s also numerous bars – on and off the slopes – for rowdy or relaxed nights out.
If someone in your group is a newbie to skiing or snowboarding, choosing a resort with great nursery slopes is key. El Tarter is brilliant for beginners as its main ski zone is mostly easy blue runs and a few kids’ areas. Plus, if there are more advanced skiers in your group, it’s only a quick chairlift ride to neighbouring Soldeu with its slightly trickier pistes.
As Andorra is fortunate enough to be perched at a high altitude, almost all of its resorts are snow-sure. Your best chance of seeing perfect powder is at Pas de la Casa and Soldeu in the Grandvalira region. Both have slopes at over 1800m, plus recent investment in hundreds of snow cannons means at least 60% of the region’s runs are always covered in snow.
What about ski weekends in Andorra?
Andorra’s low prices and flexible hotels means it’s a great spot for a shorter ski weekend. Flights tend to be quite cheap to Barcelona and Toulouse, and transfer times of under three hours means you’ll have plenty of time left to ski.
As it’s so close to some of France and Spain’s coolest cities, why not combine skiing in Andorra with a culture-packed city break?