When it comes to choosing your ski holiday in Europe, you might end up looking at a lot of different options. Andorra might not be the first place that comes to mind, but if you ask anyone who has been skiing or snowboarding in Andorra, they will all recommend giving Andorra’s ski resorts a try.
We discovered Andorra while searching for our next ski destination and before then we didn’t even know this small country between Spain and France existed.
Andorra has a lot to offer for every kind of winter trips, from family-friendly ski holidays to fun ski trips with friends. I have already written a separate piece about the things you should know before visiting Andorra, so here I am going to talk about all the reasons you should choose Andorra as your next ski destination.
Andorra is a visa-free country
It doesn’t matter what nationality you hold, you don’t need to get a visa to visit Andorra because the country doesn’t issue tourist visas.
Since Andorra has not signed the Schengen Agreement but the only way to get to the country is travelling through France or Spain, you will only have to sort out your Schengen visa if your nationality requires it.
Guaranteed snow for five months
The country of Andorra is located on the mountain range of the Pyrenees with its 65 peaks above 2,000 metres. As you might imagine, the country gets a lot of snow during the winters. Besides, the country has invested heavily in snow cannons to keep the resorts running even when there is not enough natural snow.
Keeping the ski resorts functioning from December to April is very important for the country since its economic growth is tied to winter tourism.
You might be able to go skiing in Andorra in March, but you should go skiing in the morning because the resorts can end up with slushy snow in the afternoons.
Andorra has various ski resorts
There are various ski resorts with amazing facilities all around the country and they can all feel quite different. You can go to Pas De La Casa, the highest resort at an altitude of 2100 metres, close to the border with France where you will feel a French vibe.
Another option is Arinsal on the west side of the country. This resort is a great place for beginners and intermediate skiers as it hosts various green, blue, red and black trails.
Alternatively, you can go to Soldeu El Tarter, one of the largest resorts in the Pyrenees, where you will have over 210 kilometres of pistes with excellent snow conditions. This site has different trails for every skier and snowboarder from beginners to more advanced.
Skiing in Andorra is affordable
Andorra might not be the cheapest destination in the world but it is indeed one of the most affordable ski destinations in Europe, in terms of accommodation, skiing and eating out costs.
When you plan a trip to Andorra, you should know that you are travelling to the country which has the lowest VAT rates in Europe (4.5%). It is in sharp contrast with the UK, France, Spain and many other European countries that have a VAT rate of 20% or more.
English is commonly spoken in Andorra
Andorra has more international visitors than residents, and tourism plays a big role in its economy. This means a lot of jobs in this country rely on international visitors, especially from the neighbouring countries and the UK. This is why who works in tourism and hospitality can usually speak French, Spanish and English, even though the official language in Andorra is Catalan.
When you go to a restaurant you will find the menu in the four languages and the ski instructors will also speak all of these languages quite well. We hired one during our stay and not only we improved our skiing skills, but we learned more about Andorra and its residents.
The slopes in Andorra are not crowded
Visting Andorra is like exploring the perfect hidden gem in Europe. Skiing in Andorra is not as popular as in other western European countries such as France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, so this comes with the nice benefit of having quieter slopes.
We all enjoy skiing or snowboarding in less busy resorts, which also means shorter waiting times to use the lifts or even no waiting time at all.
Skiing while the sun is shining
Andorra has an average of 300 sunny days throughout the year. Who doesn’t like sunny days during the winter? The feeling of the sun warming up your skin while skiing in the below-freezing temperatures is just perfect.
Tip: don’t forget to apply suncream and some lip balm to avoid sunburn.
Shopping is fun
I know that when it comes to a ski holiday the last thing you might think of is going shopping, but the situation can be different in Andorra.
This country is the sixth smallest country in Europe, so you don’t need to travel too far from the slopes to do some shopping.
You can spend half a day in Andorra La Vella, the highest capital city in Europe, where you can find a lot of shops, boutiques restaurants and the Caldea Spa. Don’t forget, the VAT rate in Andorra is very low.
How to get to Andorra
Andorra doesn’t have an airport, so the only way to get into the country is driving or using public transports. You can fly to Toulouse in France or Barcelona in Spain, then from these two cities, you can take a bus or rent a car and drive to Andorra.
I recommend renting a car since you will have a lot more freedom to move around the country.
What is the currency
Even though Andorra is not part of the European Union or the Eurozone, its currency is the Euro, which makes it easier for travellers.
We didn’t know much about Andorra before our trip, but we really enjoyed our time there and not only we want to go back there again, we also want to encourage others to explore this beautiful country, especially during the winter.
You can also read: Innsbruck in winter: top things to do
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