How to choose between Vallnord or Grandvalira to ski in Andorra?

Andorra, thanks to its cultural heritage, offers many places to ski. The two best known are Vallnord and Grandvalira, but how do you choose between these two areas?

The Vallnord ski area

First of all, the Vallnord ski area passes through several villages, which also have their own ski resorts, including Le Pal, Arinsal, and Ordino.

The Pal resort

The resort of Le Pal is specialised for beginners in skiing. It is therefore available to all, especially families. It has 63 km of ski runs and is connected to the resort of Arinsal by a cable car.

The resort of Arinsal

Arinsal is the smallest resort in Andorra. It has a vertical drop of 1,000 km, but is best known for its freestyle runs. If you like thrills, this is the resort for you! The atmosphere is festive, especially in the tapas bars that are present around the slopes. This resort is especially dedicated to young people and people who like to ski freestyle.

The resort of Ordino

The resort of Ordino offers diversity! In fact, it has 442 hectares of virgin snow and 140 different downhill itineraries, which can be used by everyone. In fact, there are multiple levels of ski runs, from green to black.

The Grandvalira ski area

The Grandvalira resort covers about 2 hectares and offers 110 ski runs.

There are 210 km of ski runs available and they pass through the towns of Pas-de-la-Case, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and finally Encamp.

The resort of Pas-de-la-Case

The resort of Pas-de-la-Case offers a wide range of accommodation and steep slopes that allow all skiers to enjoy themselves. What’s more, this town is unbeatable when it comes to shopping! If you want to shop during your winter holidays, this is the place to go.

The resort of Soldeu

The Soldeu area has a beautiful setting where skiers can enjoy some great runs. One of them even hosted the Women’s Ski World Cup in 2012.

 

The resort of El Tarter

El Tarter is the most famous resort in Granvalira. It has a large SnowPark, as this resort was designed to practice extreme snow sports. It is one of the largest freestyle modules in Europe. This resort is therefore intended for the most experienced skiers.

The resort of Canillo

The ski resort of Canillo is available for everyone, young and old. Indeed, beginners can ski here in complete peace. The atmosphere, whether on the slopes or in the village, is really calm.

The resort of Encamp

Finally, the resort of Encamp is the first access to Grandvalira when you come from Spain. There, there are the remains of a medieval town from the past. In addition, you can find the largest funicular in Europe in this station. It connects the station to the houses in only 6 km. A short 15-minute ride over beautiful mountain scenery is sure to relax you.

Conclusion

In both resorts you can practice your favourite winter sports: downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, …. Andorra is the ideal place for a skiing holiday. There you will find everything you need for skiing: ski lifts, accommodation at the foot of the slopes, ski equipment rental, ski instructors and many après-ski activities.

How to prepare a ski trip to the Vallnord resort in Andorra?

Andorra offers many activities, including superb ski slopes. Some are more or less well known. The two best are Grandvalira and Vallnord.

So how do you prepare for your trip to Vallnord, Andorra?

 

Preparing your trip to Vallnord

 

Which resort to choose?

 

First of all, the Vallnord ski area passes through several villages, which also have their own ski resorts, including Le Pal, Arinsal, and Ordino. So you need to find out which resort is best for you.

– If you are with your family, you should choose the resort of Le Pal, as it is suitable for everyone, especially for families, as there are slopes suitable for beginners.

– If you are with friends and you like strong sensations, prefer the resort of Arinsal, because it is famous for its freestyle slopes and for all the parties that are organised there, in the evening, at the foot of the slopes.

– Finally, if you want to go in a small group, and no one has the same level, choose the resort of Ordino because it offers a lot of diversity. Indeed, there are multiple levels of ski runs, from green runs to black runs.

 

You can see that the ski resorts in Vallnord are available for everyone, from beginners to experienced skiers. So, renting accommodation in this ski resort could be a good idea.

 

 

How do you go about booking the trip?

 

First of all, you need to consider the purchase of a plane ticket, or the price of a rental car for example. You should also calculate the price of petrol and tolls, if there are any on your route. These are small details that we never think about, but which could help you to prepare your trip.

 

Next, you need to find out what accommodation is available in the city of your choice. Some AirBnb are available to go on holiday, alone or in a group; and it is good to note that many accommodations are available in Andorra, especially in the resort Vallnord. Vallnord offers all types of accommodation at low prices, as Andorra is not yet a popular choice for skiing. You must therefore select the type of accommodation you want. If it is a hotel, you will need to prepare fewer things than if you are going to a house for example, as hotels often offer catering services. However, if there are several of you, you cannot necessarily take a hotel, as there is a risk of several of you being in the same room, without privacy. It is therefore important to define the type of accommodation you will be staying in before you start packing.

 

Finally, you should check that your accommodation is close to the activities and visits that are available in the Vallnord resort. Skiing is great, but perhaps you would like to visit the cultural sites in the resort, or do your shopping! In order to prepare your holiday in Vallnord, it is important to have a map and to know where your accommodation is located in relation to the activities available in the resort.

 

Conclusion

The ski area of Vallnord is an excellent place for snow sports:

– downhill skiing

– snowboarding,

– snowpark,

– freeride (off-piste)

– …

It is the ideal place for winter sports, both for skiing and for other activities such as snowshoeing and sledging, for example. In Vallnord, there are ski lifts, a ski school, gondolas, shops to rent ski equipment,… Everything you need is at your disposal. Your skiing holiday will be perfect. Moreover, the snow cover is also ideal. If you don’t live far away, you can also come for a family ski day.

What to do in Grandvalira?

There is more to Grandvalira than just skiing, in fact, Grandvalira is full of beautiful places where you can go for walks, rides on two wheels or dog sledding. Whether you like a dynamic holiday or prefer a relaxing one, whether you’re on your own or with someone else, Grandvalira will capture your heart in summer or winter.

 

Where to ski in Grandvalira?

The Grandvalira ski area is located in Andorra (Andorra) close to the French border, and was founded in 2003. Its 210 kilometres of ski runs make it the largest ski area in the Pyrenees and one of the largest in Europe.

The ski resort of Grandvalira today consists of Pas de la casa and Grau Roig, Soldeu-el Tarter, Peretol, with 7 access points, all located along the road in France.

There is not only skiing, there are other winter sports such as traditional snowboarding, ski touring, freeskiing and the inevitable heli-skiing, which consists of going up to the peaks by helicopter and sliding down wild paths. For the more adventurous skiers, there are thrill-seeking activities such as freeriding and off-piste skiing.

Because a ski holiday should be fun for the whole family, the resort also has a ski school where the youngest, or even novices, can ski under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Ski equipment hire in Grandvalira

Travel light with ski hire. You will find ski/snowboard equipment in excellent condition, ready when you arrive at the resort, all at an attractive price.

But these are not the only reasons. Professionals will be at your service to guide you in the purchase of your equipment according to your level of skiing, the climatic conditions, your physiognomy or even your budget.

We have found you the best ski rentals in the region:

– Chez Sport 2000

– Viladomat

– Alpinresorts

– Intersport

– Skiset

 

Après-ski

After a day’s skiing, there are many activities and services on offer in this southern European ski resort, all designed for visitors to enjoy a relaxing moment, whether it’s over a drink, a good meal, or any other activity.

Nightlife in Grandvalira

The abarset

Located at the foot of El Tarter, the Abarset restaurant offers parties throughout the winter. It hosts internationally renowned artists and DJs. It is the ideal place for all the party people who would like to party until the end of the night.

L’après Amélie

L’Après Amélie is a terrace with a spectacular view from which you can enjoy the panorama while tasting a sumptuous gastronomic menu, all accompanied by a good cocktail.

Sunset Park Peretol by Henrik Harlaut

Still not tired? Then head to Sunset Park Peretol by Henrik Harlaut. It is the only night snowpark in the Pyrenees. It is easily accessible by road and has a car park. However, you must have a ski pass to access it. You can buy a pass directly in the snowpark between 3pm and 9pm.

Gastronomy in Grandvalira

Because we couldn’t do an article on Grandvalira without talking about the culinary specialities of the Pyrenees. There are many restaurants and pubs where you can taste typical Pyrenean dishes, such as Bayonne ham, Catalan black pudding, Catalan fuet, cargolade, boles de picoulat, garbure béarnaise, mongetado ariégeois, etc. So many dishes that will satisfy the most gourmet among you! Now that we have finished making your mouth water, we give you the list of the most famous restaurants in Grandvalira.

– For a mix of culinary traditions, let yourself be seduced by L’informal, this restaurant offers Franco-Spanish cuisine, a caliente atmosphere guaranteed!

– Do you want to enjoy a green setting or a snowy mountain, depending on the period you choose? Then Roc de les Bruixes is the place to go.

– Want to enjoy a good steak with a delicious glass of wine? Head to the Wine & Meat Bar.

– Looking for a breathtaking view? Go to the El Racó de Solanelles restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal.

– Do you like beautiful views? We’ve got just what you need! The Cool Blanc KSB restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the French Pyrenees, the Carlit mountain range and the Spanish Pyrenees. It offers simple and delicious French cuisine, recipes for duck breast, cassoulet, confits…

– The restaurant La Trattoria is also a good place to diversify your diet. You will have the possibility to eat pizzas, but also to taste quality Italian dishes, all cooked before your eyes thanks to the show cooking.

– The Costa Rodona self-service restaurant offers an all-inclusive buffet of hot and cold dishes.

Grandvalira Wellness Centre

Why not end your day in a jacuzzi? After a busy day, head to the Caldea Andorra wellness centre. It has 6,000 m2 of indoor and outdoor lagoons, saunas, jacuzzis, waterfalls, bubble beds, hot marble, grapefruit baths, Indo-Roman baths and the list goes on. This resort has everything you need for a guaranteed relaxing time.

Shopping in Grandvalira

Just a few kilometres from Grandvalira is the town of Soldeu with its many shops, where shopping enthusiasts can enjoy themselves.  The areas are well connected and can be reached in 30 minutes by shuttle bus. The prices are often attractive and you can get a good deal.

The Catalunya region, a diversion on the Costa Blanca

The city of Barcelona is 190 km from Grandvalira. Here you can do some shopping, but also eat the inevitable tapas or a good paella. If your holiday in Andorra is not during the winter season, you will have the opportunity to combine the sea and the mountains. An unforgettable family holiday!

What to see in Vallnord?

Are you about to book your holiday rental but have questions? Here’s why you should choose Vallnord for your ski holiday.

Located in the northern valleys of Ordino and La Massana, the town of Vallnord has a lot to offer its visitors. First of all, it is the second most important alpine ski resort in Andorra after Grandvalira and has around a hundred kilometres of ski slopes served by ski lifts, such as gondolas, chairlifts, ski tows, snow parks, etc. But that’s not all, thanks to its northerly orientation, the quality of the snow is simply exceptional and it stays longer than elsewhere.

Where to stay in Vallnord?

Vallnord offers absolutely everything that can be found on the subject! However, in Arcalis there is no village, just a few restaurants, but no way to stay on site. So skiers usually stay in Ordino, surely one of the prettiest villages in Andorra, or in the hamlets that dot the ski lifts. The same is true of Pal, which is a small town very close to Andorra la Vella and directly linked to the slopes by a cable car. Arinsal is not bad either in terms of accommodation.

Three main disciplines are practiced in this ski area ;

Freeride

Freestyle

Boarder cross

 

Ski hire in Vallnord

 

Before you can practice your favourite winter sports, you will need the right equipment. To do this, equipment rental is a possibility to consider, especially if your ski holidays are occasional. In these shops, you will find classic ski equipment but also more specific equipment such as ski touring, off-piste skiing, but also snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Professionals will be at your service to advise you. There’s only one thing left to do, hit the green slopes and enjoy the thrills of these ski resorts. In most resorts, you can pay for your rental by ski pass, which is advantageous if you plan to ski for several days.

Here is the list of shops:

– Sport 2000

– Esports Sant Moritz

– Pic nègre

 

Ski schools in Vallnord

Learning to ski in Vallnord

Finally, for people making their first ski trip, it is not always easy to find themselves several metres above sea level. This is why this large ski area has a ski school where ski lessons are given by instructors.

Après-ski

Gastronomy in Vallnord

Because winter sports make you hungry, there are many pubs and restaurants around the resorts. We have found the rare gems for you:

– Located in Andorra la Vella, the El Cachirulo restaurant will make your mouth water with its Spanish specialities.

– The Lac I Cell restaurant, also located in Andorra la Vella, has everything to please with its mountain chalet atmosphere.

– For a tapas restaurant, head to La Taverna de Pal, where you can enjoy a good glass of wine and tapas at the foot of the slopes, all with a view of the exceptional panoramas of the snow-capped mountains.

Summer holidays in Vallnord

Finally, even if when we talk about Vallnord, we immediately think of winter holidays, it is not just a big resort where it is good to ski. In fact, the family activities of La Caubella and the entire Vallnord Mountain Bike Park La Massana are waiting for you! These are open from 18 June to 11 September. This area is dedicated to family fun. The park has bouncy castles and trampolines. It is also the starting point for excursions on quads or Gicafer. There are many fun activities for families, such as canals, wooden games, a rope park, an electric train, an electric go-kart circuit, a jumping zone, a zip line and a labyrinth. Of course, the park has also thought about parents, who can try disc golf, 4×4 buggy rides, play pétanque, orienteering courses and anything else they can think of.

Culture and relaxation in Vallnord

During your holiday in the mountains, you will discover many fun activities for the whole family. You will have the opportunity to go for walks and discover the steel industry in Andorra, and visit important places such as the Rossel forge or the Llorts mine in summer.

All in all, an unforgettable holiday in southern Europe.

 

Here is a list of the best activities in the region:

For a moment close to nature

The Tristaina Lake Trail. This 4.8 km round trip trail is mainly used for hiking. It passes by three lakes and is a real haven of peace. It’s a great way to recharge your batteries!

The Comapedrosa Valleys Natural Park is located in the northwest of the Principality of Andorra. The Comapedrosa peak, the highest peak in Andorra, is located in this area.

Estany de les truites is a meeting point with nature that is not to be missed.

A relaxing break in Vallnord

– Caldea: this thermal leisure centre in Andorra is one of the most important in Europe. This centre offers thermoludism: all cultures are brought together through water to help you find balance, vitality and well-being. Two areas are at your disposal: the Thermoludic area and the Wellness area. A great place to recharge your batteries after a day of skiing.

Shopping day in Vallnord

– You will also have the opportunity to do some shopping. The Principality of Andorra is also known for the quality and diversity of its shops. A few kilometres away is the Pyrenees Andorra shopping centre, which will satisfy even the most discerning shoppers.

Must-do activities in Andorra

Andorra, a small state located between France and Spain, offers a wide range of activities. This principality is often visited because of the prices that are offered, but is travelling to Andorra just that?

 

Skiing in Andorra

 

Skiing in Andorra is a must-do activity during your holiday.

 

Granvalira

 

First of all, the most attractive things to do in Andorra are, of course, the ski resorts.

Some of them are even a must!

First of all, the Grandvalira Ski Resort; it is the largest resort in the Pyrenees, and has about 200 km of groomed ski runs. In total, there are 110 ski runs of all kinds.

There are also several snowparks in this ski area where young and old can have fun.

 

Vallnord

 

VallNord is an Andorran ski resort made up of three former resorts: Ordino-Arcalis, Pal and Arinsal. It is a ski resort with about 90 km of ski runs and a capacity of more than 50,000 skiers.

If you are one of those who appreciate the human treatment, the good condition of the slopes and the excellent catering more than the kilometres offered by other resorts, Vallnord is without a doubt your resort.

In addition, Vallnord is a 2.0 season, as they say, with free wi-fi access from several points in the season and will be extended this season. Don’t forget to disconnect your data on your mobile when you cross the border if you don’t want any surprises on your bill.

 

What else can you do besides skiing?

 

Shopping is the number one activity in Andorra

 

Andorra has over 1,200 commercial establishments where you can buy everything from the latest fashion trends to the latest technology.

The most prestigious international companies are concentrated in streets such as Meritxell in Andorra la Vella, and Carlemany in Escaldes-Engordany. Sought-after items such as classic alcohol and tobacco and the most exclusive products can be purchased in shops such as the Pyrenees Shopping Centre.

 

Visiting the villages

 

Some activities other than skiing are available, such as visiting authentic villages.

First of all, you can visit the village of Ordino. This small village is located in the northwest of the mountain, at an altitude of about 1300 metres. Here you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

A second village is essential to visit, the village of Canillo. It is crossed by the river Vallira, and has two old monuments, the Harnero mill, and the church of San Serni.

 

Old Romanesque churches

 

As far as churches are concerned, some are worth visiting without delay. The church of Sant Joan de Caselles, which dates back to the 11th century, and the church of Sant Climent de Pal, which also dates back to the 11th century, but was rebuilt in the 17th century.

 

Other unmissable visits

 

There are also some truly unique places to see, such as the Sanctuary of Meritxell, which can be compared to a cloister. It is filled with mirrors, which gives the impression that the rooms are infinite, especially when the light fills the rooms.

The House of the Valleys, once the seat of the Parliament of Andorra, is also a historical monument to visit. It dates from the 16th century and you can see a courtroom on the first floor and one of the parliament chambers on the second. This monument is really unique, so some guided tours are organised during the summer. You just have to go there!

 

Naturlandia

 

Finally, you can do more modern activities, which do not involve historical visits. For example, the Naturlandia park, which is a unique amusement park. You can see animals, but also games for young and old. You can even go quad biking, buggy riding, or see the Pyrenean bears during a snowshoe walk.

In winter, snowmobiles, snowshoeing, igloo building, etc. complete this attractive offer.

 

Caldea to recharge your batteries

 

Finally, the Caldea Spa Centre, which is the largest spa in Europe and also one of the most beautiful in the Pyrenees. You can also take part in nightly sessions of shows on the water.

 

Conclusion

These are the top ten things to do in Andorra, although there are many others that you should take the time to see. This makes it a great place for winter sports. There are many activities for the whole family:

– cross-country skiing,

– hiking,

– sledging,

– snowboarding,

– cross-country skiing,

– …

 

There are large ski areas with miles of slopes. For beginners, you can go to a ski school. For your holiday rental, you can rent a chalet, a flat or stay in a hotel. There are also many other activities for those who don’t enjoy skiing: amusement parks, shopping, sightseeing, …