Booking an independent ski holiday has many advantages over picking a pre-packaged deal, you get to pick and choose all the elements you want to build your perfect stay but it can sometimes it can be a little daunting it you haven’t done it before.
We’ve compiled everything you’ll need to know about getting from the airport to resort, or we have another guide explaining how to get to Andorra.The first thing you are going to need to do is choose how you are going to travel, for this you have three main choices;
- A shared, scheduled transfer
- A private transfer
- Hiring a car
* Best value for money*
There are scheduled transfer services that run from Barcelona (seven services daily) and Toulouse (three services daily) during the winter season. These run very similar to the National Express service in the UK, and depart the airport at a scheduled time and drop off at every resort in Andorra. They run every single day of the winter season apart from Christmas and New Year’s day.
Will there be a rep onboard? No, there is no rep to accompany you but the experienced drivers will ensure you get to your destination. Most of the drivers will understand a small amount of English, but if trying to explain something complicated a translation app on your phone can always be a great help.
Will the transfers stop? The scheduled transfers do not include a comfort stop and will only stop to either collect or drop people off. You can request a toilet stop from the driver but we advise you do this as early as possible as there are some sections of the journey where it’s simply not possible. We strongly advise to make any bathroom stops before the journey.
Can I take my ski equipment with me? Absolutely, as a ski transfer specialist AndBus are used to carrying ski, snowboard and boot bags.
If I’m late, will the transfer wait for me? Unfortunately, as a scheduled service, the buses aim to leave on time so it’s important that you leave yourself plenty of time to get through passport control and collect your bags. We always say as a very rough guideline to allow about an hour, but this really can depend on how busy the airport is on the day. If you do manage to make it through quickly and there is a transfer available earlier than the service you have booked, your ticket is transferable as long as there is available space on the bus.
If I miss my bus, will I be stranded at the airport? Absolutely not, if you know well in advance that you are going to miss your transfer then you can get in touch with either Andorra Resorts or AndBus directly to organise changing your booking for a later service free of charge (see your voucher for phone numbers). If you are unable to let them know, you can still transfer your ticket to a later service but it’s subject to available seats.
Have some entertainment to hand. Make sure your devices are fully charged and have a portable power pack as well, having some music, an audio-book, a few episodes of your favourite TV show or a film can really help the journey go quicker, especially if you have little ones with you.
Be prepared. Knowing where you have to be will help on the day, so that you are fully prepared on landing. We have filmed videos of all the transfer meeting points here, watch the relevant one in advance and allow yourselves plenty of time to get these
To book a shared transfer from Toulouse or Barcelona Airport, just click here
Private transfers are certainly the most stress-free way to get to resort, when your flight lands your transfer will be ready and waiting for you to take you to your preferred destination. Private transfers are available from Barcelona, Girona, Reus, Lleida, Toulouse, Carcassonne & Perpignan so giving you complete flexibility of which airport you fly into and can drop you to pretty much any address in Andorra. With small numbers private transfers do work out quite a bit more expensive than shared transfers, but with larger groups than can actually work our cheaper per person.
Is the price per person? No, private transfers are charged by the vehicle size. You can even upgrade to a larger size if you would like more space for your trip.
Do we have to contact anyone when the flight lands? No, as we have your flight details the driver will ensure he’s there waiting for you at arrivals. All you need to do is collect your bags!
Will the transfer make a comfort stop? There are no scheduled stops on private transfers, but if you’d like to organise a stop just let us know. The transfer is flexible around you and we can plan in a suitable place for a comfort stop.
I’ve seen on Google Maps that there is a quicker route to Pas de la Casa, why does the transfer not go this way? The route out of Andorra into Spain is a lot more reliable than the route into France due to it’s terrain and altitude. Our private transfer supplier chooses to take this slightly longer route because even with adverse weather conditions there is less likely to be disruptions to the service. As private transfers are flexible, you are more than welcome to choose the shorter route if you wish there is just a small supplement for the payable tunnels that you pass through.
There are no shared transfers on Christmas and New Year’s day, are private transfers running? We can organise for private transfers to run on these dates, but there is an additional €200 supplement which goes to the driver for working on these holiday dates.
Relax on the journey. A travel pillow can be a great companion if you want to catch 40-winks on your journey, especially if it’s in the early hours of the morning. You can even get space-saving inflatable ones.
Plan to get to the airport at least three hours before your flight. No one likes going home and when you are tight on time it makes the journey even worse! Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport so that you can go through check-in and security stress-free.
Hiring a car, especially if you are a smaller party definitely allows you the most flexibility, as not only will you be able to get to your chosen destination, but you will be able to explore Andorra throughout your stay. It’s especially good if you are staying self-catering as it allows you to go to the larger out-of-town supermarkets to get your weekly shop, rather than relying on the smaller, more expensive in-resort shops.
Do I need snow chains and snow tyres? Due to the nature and the altitude of the resorts they often experience snow fall that settles on the road. Although there is a very good and well practised system for clearing them you need to be fully prepared. You will definitely need to have snow chains, some hire companies can provide these, if not you can buy these locally in Andorra. If there is heavy snow the Police will set up road blocks and you will not be allowed to pass if you don’t have snow chains on, if you have snow tyres these are sometimes sufficient. You’ll find everything you need to know about driving in Andorra here.
*Update* Police are now strongly enforcing a €180 fine if you don’t have either snow chains or snow tyres from 1st November to 15th May, so please be prepared.
Will I need to pay extra for taking the car into Andorra? Potentially. Check with the hire company before you reserve the car and be very explicit with what you are using it for, they will let you know if there is a charge for crossing the border.
Is fuel cheaper in Andorra? Yes, so definitely worth filling up the tank as much as you can before you cross the border. If you are travelling from Andorra into Spain, there are plenty of fuel stations literally two minutes before you go through the border crossing.
Where can I park in resort? There is generally plenty of parking on offer in the resorts, some hotels have their own car parks but not all so please do research options before you decide. Always try and plan for covered parking if possible as if there is a lot of snowfall it can be very time consuming having to dig your car out of several feet of snow. Remember to add the cost of the parking when planning your budget, there is some free parking available but generally it’s about €20-€25 per day, but some car parks also offer weekly tickets.
How long will the drive take? As a rough guide it will take about 3 hours from resort to airport or vice versa. You’ll need to add on time for comfort stops and collecting/dropping the car as well. Before you travel ensure you know where your car hire office is located as it may be in a separate terminal to the one you landed or even off-site.
Have sat nav prepared with the route. If you don’t own a sat nav device but you do have a smart phone, Google Maps will allow you to download a journey while you have wifi which will save your date roaming while you are on the road.
Look into excess insurance. You can purchase separate insurance that covers only the excess on hire cars. This can often be a lot cheaper than paying the supplement the hire companies charge, if you are a frequent traveller they do policies that last up to a year.
If you have any more questions, or if you have found this helpful and would like us to cover another part of independent travel then just get in touch with us here.