When it comes to booking a holiday you have a few ways to go about it – first of all you have the traditional package holiday where you pick your package from a brochure or online and it includes everything from the flights and transfers to your accommodation and ski extras, or the alternative is to put your own holiday together and come independently.
Booking all or part of your holiday independently means you have much more flexibility to meet your own requirements, whether that means you want to arrive on a particular day of the week, have a short/extended break or want to have a day off from skiing in the middle of the week. Our guide below will show you the various parts of the holiday that you will need to book.
Andorra doesn’t have it’s own airport however there are several airports available to choose from fairly close by. The most popular airport for independent holidaymakers is Barcelona as there are five daily shared transfers plus an extra service at weekends during the winter, however there are also shared transfers available from Toulouse and Girona. Other airports used less frequently are Reus and Carcassonne. Lleida is the closest airport with international flights although they are very limited.
Transfers or Car Hire
You need to decide how you’ll get from the airport to your resort, and this depends on a couple of factors – do you mind driving overseas? and how much do you want to spend?
It’s easy enough to rent a car, however if you go for this option before you book make sure that you can drive the car across the border into Andorra and also find out if you will be charged extra for this. We’ve previously used Europcar as they allow cross-border travel and don’t charge extra, but always check before you book.
For airport transfers if you’re flying to Barcelona, Girona or Toulouse you can have shared or private transfers, or from other airports it’s just private transfers. To book airport transfers a good website to try is www.andorraairporttransfers.com. Obviously a taxi transfer or private minibus is going to be more expensive than the shared option, but it means that you leave the airport as soon as your group have arrived.
Choose Your Resort
Andorra has two main ski areas, Grandvalira and Vallnord. Grandvalira is the largest skiable domain in the Pyrenees, not just Andorra, boasting 205km of linked pistes which means you have a huge range of slopes to keep you occupied throughout your holiday. The main resorts here are Pas de la Casa and Soldeu, and both offer completely different atmospheres albeit access to the same slopes. Pas de la Casa (or just Pas to locals) attracts quite a young crowd and is renowned for partying as much as it is for skiing and snowboarding, however Soldeu is much more family friendly although still has a few great bars for après ski. The other accesses to Grandvalira are Grau Roig, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp but these aren’t as popular with tourists.
Vallnord is a smaller ski area with 93km of pistes but in my opinion this includes probably the best skiing in Andorra! The main tourist resort is Arinsal which is also linked by cable car to the Pal ski area, and it’s arguably the most picturesque of the Andorran ski resorts. The bars and restaurants are all family friendly but there are also a couple of nightclubs to keep younger ones entertained. Arinsal has a fantastic school for beginners, but Arcalis is the hidden gem of a ski area, and with no hotels it is usually much quieter than other areas, so it’s worth taking the free ski bus across to give it a go.
Whether you’ve arranged the whole of your holiday yourself or if you’ve booked a package for the main components, the most popular part of a skiing holiday to book independently is the ski extras: lift passes, lessons and ski hire. The main benefit of doing this “DIY” is that you can choose the standard of equipment you want, you can see which shop you’ll be collecting from beforehand, and you can also take advantage of special products such as the non-consecutive lift pass which allows either one or two days off from skiing or snowboarding.
The Next Step…
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or need help organising your holiday, or for links to all the relevant pages to plan and book your trip, visit our Andorra holidays page >>