We often get asked what the differences between Soldeu and El Tarter are. Being just a few minutes drive away from each other, both situated in the Grandvalira ski area, we thought we’d compare the two to help you decide which resort is the best fit for you!
Well this is definitely a tie, both have fantastic access to Grandvalira and it’s 210km of skiable area. With 128 slopes catering for all abilities, Grandvalira is the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees and across Southern Europe. With six linked sectors there is plenty to keep you entertained for a week and even more.
Again there is absolutely nothing between them on this one. Both ski schools are run by the same people and the quality of their instructors matches their high reputation. In both schools they have a British side, which means that a vast number of the instructors are native English speakers and they also have a high understanding of the British market.
In Soldeu, we partner with Sports Calbo. Located as close to the gondola as you can get, this large shop boasts an excellent reputation in resort for having the best equipment in town. For ski hire in El Tarter, Nordic Esports is our shop of choice which is directly opposite the El Tarter chairlift and attached to the Nordic hotel. In Nordic Esports you get a very personalised service with the owner spending most of his days on the shop floor helping people, you would have a hard job finding someone that knows more about equipment than him.
Here we have a clear winner. In El Tarter there is a large carpark situated right in front gondola, so you have direct access to the slopes and it’s is completely free of charge. It’s really easy to find and well signposted from the main road. In Soldeu, there is the main multi-storey car park situated at the gondola and various village car parks close by but these are a lot smaller, more expensive and it’s very difficult to find a spot during busy weeks unless you get there really early.
In Soldeu it’s mainly hotel accommodation, you have a range of styles from the smaller, budget hotels that offer you everything that you need without the frills up to larger spa hotels with 5* opulence. There are a few privately rented apartments, but these go very quickly due to the limited availability. Everything is centrally located in the resort, so it’s all within walking distance, so if you like your holiday to be catered for and not have to worry then Soldeu is the place for you. In El Tarter they have a large selection of self-catering apartments so it’s absolutely perfect for families, people who like their indapendence or if you are on a slightly tighter budget. There are a few hotels, including the fantastically positioned Hotel Nordic, but with the wide range of apartments you can normally find some great deals if you book early enough.
Soldeu is definitely the livelier of the two resorts for an après ski atmosphere. In Soldeu you have a collection of bars in the centre of resort which offer live music, welcome refreshments and a great atmosphere after you have been out on the slopes. With different things going on every-day of the week you’ll look forward to being off the slopes as much as you enjoy being on them! El Tarter definitely has a more low-key, quieter atmosphere, with only a few bars to choose from that are scattered around the resort. It’s great if you have little ones and want to just unwind after your day on the slopes or you prefer your holiday to be away from the hustle and bustle. Even though El Tarter is the much quieter resort, it does know how to throw a good party with the L’Abarset open-air après ski bar featured in our Five New Après Ski Activities in Andorra last year. If you like the best of both worlds, you can always finish your day on the mountain in Soldeu, enjoy the après ski atmosphere there and then just pop on a local bus back to El Tarter.
Again Soldeu has the upper-hand here, there is plenty more choice for the international market with everything from quaint coffee shops to beautiful fine dining establishments. If your evening meal isn’t included in your hotel then you won’t go hungry for lack of choice, but it’s really important that you get reservations as the restaurants tend to fill up very quickly. Dining out in Andorra is very reasonable value for money so it’s well worth sampling some of the local eateries. In El Tarter there are a few restaurants, but they are mainly aimed at the locals to the area, you’ll find that grill menus are very popular with large varieties of meat on offer.
So in conclusion both resorts have their benefits, it all depends what you are looking for but hopefully the above will help you decide. Remember, there is an excellent local bus service that travels between the resorts so you certainly aren’t restricted to one. If you want more information, or if there is something we haven’t covered above, don’t be afraid to get in touch with our local, expert team.