Ski holiday to Andorra

Most skiers choose the Alps when going on a skiing holiday in Europe, and many seem to forget about Andorra. This small country in the Pyrenees, sandwiched between France and Spain, probably has Europe's best skiing outside the Alps and should therefore attract more ski tourists than it perhaps does.

Even though Andorra is so far south, it is still normally a snow-sure destination, and the reason for that is the altitude at which Andorra is located. The highest ski slopes here are at an altitude of over 2,600 meters. In addition, the ski resorts in Andorra have invested a lot in systems to create artificial snow, so even in winters with less precipitation, the ski resorts can still remain open. Because of this, a normal season here is quite long, as a rule, the ski systems open in early December and close sometime in mid-April.

Best ski resorts in Andorra

If you want to go on a ski holiday to Andorra, it is primarily the large Grandvalira ski system that most people choose. This ski area has over 210 kilometers of groomed slopes, over 70 lifts and it includes the most well-known ski resorts in Andorra, Pas de la Casa and Soldeu. Also included are the villages/ski resorts of El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp.

If you want to go to Grandvalira on a ski trip and still have as much things to do outside of the slopes around you, with for example a larger number of restaurants, bars and shops, Pas de la Casa is a good choice. Another good option is El Tarter or Soldeu, as these two villages are only five minutes' drive from each other and thus you can easily visit the other village than the one you choose to stay in. If you like to eat well, Soldeu is the place to choose, more on that further down.

Another good ski system in Andorra, which is also a bit cheaper than Grandvalira, is the one shared between the ski resorts of Arinsal and Pal. The village of La Massana also has access to this ski area, so an alternative is to look for accommodation there as well if you are interested in skiing here. These two ski resorts together have more than 60 kilometers of ski slopes and over 30 lifts, more than enough for most people. This ski area is very popular with families with children.

Finally, there is also the ski resort of Arcalís-Ordino, which is located in the far north, close to the border with France. This is a smaller ski system with 17 lifts and around 30 kilometers of pisted slopes and as the base is at over 1900 metres, this ski resort is relatively snow-proof. If you want to spend your skiing holiday here, many choose to live in the village of El Serrat, which is only about 5 minutes away by car or bus.

Flights to Andorra

If you want to fly down to Andorra on your skiing holiday, there is a very good alternative, namely the airport in the big city of Barcelona. The airport here is not really "just around the corner", but in just under three hours you can reach the ski resorts in Andorra with a rental car or transfer option. The normal driving time to, for example, Pas de la Casa is two hours and 45 minutes. The advantage of Barcelona is also that there are plenty of direct flights here from all major European airports, so finding decently cheap flights when going on a ski holiday to Andorra should not be a big problem.

Also the airport in Girona, a bit more than an hour north-east of Barcelona, is a possibility to fly to if you can find direct flights. From here the distance to Andorra is about half an hour shorter than from Barcelona.

Another option, which is actually up to half an hour shorter driving time from Andorra, is Toulouse Airport Blagnac. However, this airport has a lot less flights than Barcelona, but if you do have flights to this airport from where you live, Toulouse is a good option.

The price level in Andorra

Andorra is not a cheap country, but not directly expensive either. Restaurant prices are about average for Europe in general when it comes to food. Beer and other alcoholic beverages are, however, a bit cheaper.

A lift pass for one day in Andorra averages 57 euro. The cheapest lift pass in Andorra can be found in Arcalis-Ordino where you pay 46 euro for a lift pass for one day, and the most expensive is in Pas de la Casa where the price is 57 euro. The prices mentioned apply to high season and if you book for a longer period and online, the price per day is slightly cheaper.

Renting skis in Andorra is cheaper than in the Alps. For a mid-range ski package including skis, boots and helmet, you usually pay between 100 and 150 euros for a week.

Food to try on a skiing holiday in Andorra

Although Andorra borders both Spain and France, it is primarily Spanish influences that you find in Andorran cuisine, and above all influences from the Spanish region of Catalonia. Note that the food here is very meat-based, so there are few local dishes suitable for vegetarians. These are the local Andorran dishes you should try during your skiing holiday in Andorra:

  • The dish that is most famous in Andorra, and is considered the number one national dish, is Escudella. This is a stew of the more robust kind, containing a number of different types of meat (chicken, sausage, veal and sometimes even pig's ears), but also pasta, potatoes, chickpeas, beans and other vegetables. Every restaurant has its own version, and this dish should not be missed.
  • Trinxat is a dish has a base of potatoes and cabbage and then adding a few different ingredients such as various pork, blood sausage, bacon and more. Just like Escudella, it is made in different ways with different ingredients at different restaurants. The name basically means "mashed" and that's exactly what it looks like, as if you've thrown everything in a pot and mash it all together.
  • Caragols a la llauna are snails that are cooked in the oven, also here in different ways. Usually served with aioli and if you are not afraid of eating snails, this is definitely a dish to try.
  • Trucha a la Andorrana is a grilled trout that are usually from the local mountain rivers and streams. Of course, meat is also included here as it is usually wrapped in ham.
  • Crema a la Andorrana is simply Crema catalana (similar to Crème brûlée but flavoured with citrus) with an Andorran name. It does not take away the fact that this is one of the best desserts in the world and since they know how to prepare this dish well in Andorra as well, it is also a must to eat while in Andorra.

In addition to the specific local dishes, which you should of course try, we also want to mention Soldeu, the culinary ski resort of Andorra. Here is Andorra's only restaurant with a Michelin star, the Spanish celebrity chef Francis Paniego's restaurant Ibaya, which you will find in the five-star Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa. In addition to this, there are also two restaurants in the village with so-called "Michelin mentioning", i.e. restaurants that have no star or Bib Gourmand stamp but are recommended in the "guide", so if Soldeu was in the Alps, it would definitely have been a contender to end up on our page about the best food in the Alps.

Map Andorra