Millions of visitors come to Andorra every year, many for skiing and other downhill pursuits. At 5,000 feet above sea level, Arinsal, set within sight of the Vallnord ski resort, is a prime destination for alpine activity enthusiasts.
By its definition, a ski holiday lets you leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life and dive right into nature's bounty. There are very few opportunities in the world that let you hit the slopes inside of a big city’s limits.
For many, this means choosing a destination that combines the best skiing for your level with the right balance of serenity and activity in a ski village. In this respect, Arinsal ticks all the right boxes.
From its vibrant nightlife to the various on-slope options, this guide will take you through the essentials of planning your Arinsal ski holidays.
Key Details for Arinsal Ski Holidays
Skiing is definitely one of the favourite things to do in Arinsal and you'll find dozens of vacationers planning a trip to the resorts nearby.
"Why?" you ask? Because Arinsal has had some of the best skiing in Europe for over 45 years. (Actually, given its strong specialisation, it’s hard to think of the village without skiing.)
The rough timeline for skiing in Arinsal is a few weeks before Christmas until around Easter. More precisely, you'll find the best ski conditions from December 1 to late April.
Snowboarding shares the spotlight here and there are also options for freestyle and off-piste adventures. Beginners can head to the Vallnord ski area to get a taste of the exciting ski and snowboarding activities there.
Get the Most Out of Skiing in Arinsal
With Vallnord so close, you’ll have one of the continent’s best ski resorts at your doorstep. Particulars for La Massana (Pal-Arinsal) side of Vallnord include:
- Approximately 63 km of runs include 8 at the difficult level.
- Lift passes at €40/day for adults and €34 for kids.
- A total of 23 ski lifts including several state-of-the-art options.
If you want the thrill of an off-piste run away from other people, a day at Ordino-Arcalis may be the ticket for you. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced ski enthusiast, you'll find just the right slopes here.
We recommend getting a ski pass to make the most of your time there.
Ski Holidays in Arinsal for the Whole Family
The ski resorts of Pal-Arinsal are particularly well suited to families and groups of friends because you'll find:
- A snowpark with a variety of jumps and rails for those looking to fine-tune their freestyle skills.
- Over 250 ski instructors (many who speak English fluently) at the three ski schools spread throughout Vallnord.
- A total of 90 km of pistes over 77 runs that offer something for everyone.
Non-Ski Activities Near Arinsal
Though skiing and snowboarding are both fantastic activities for vacationers in Arinsal, you'll find other activities that are just as exciting. If you're looking to mix things up a bit here are some nearby options that you can enjoy:
- The rope park with three routes of balance and climbing obstacles through Pal’s forest.
- A 340-meter-long zip line called the Big Zip that drops 28 meters.
- Rent snowshoes or ski bikes and explore the routes around Ordino-Arcalis.
Sorting Out the Kit You Need for a Ski Holiday
Whether you’re planning to ski or go snowboarding during your time in Arinsal, there is a list of equipment you’ll need in order to enjoy yourself to the fullest. Your next question will probably be what should you bring, rent, or buy when you get there?
Because of our location perched high in the Pyrenees, that decision is influenced by how you get to Andorra.
In short, if you’re driving yourself to Andorra you’re in the best position to bring everything you need, but otherwise, you’ll probably want to consider one of the ski rental options to enjoy your Arinsal holidays to the fullest.
Here in Arinsal, our friends at Esports Sant Moritz will be happy to set you up if you're looking to buy or rent equipment. From a helmet rental (highly recommended) to a new suite of poles and skis — they have it all.
Their convenient locations spread around Pal and Arinsal, and keep you well-equipped with reliable kits and personally tailored advice.
Getting to Arinsal for Andorran Ski Holidays
Getting to Andorra takes a bit of careful planning. In the winter, when you're coming for skiing, you'll probably either want to drive (if you're coming from nearby) or fly to Barcelona or Toulouse from one of the nearby major airports. Some important things to consider include:
- There are buses from Barcelona's and Toulouse's airports to Arinsal that runs several times per day and cost about €45 per person, each way.
- A private shuttle from one of these airports comes to about €150 per person, each way.
- You could rent a car at the airport, parking can be difficult in Andorra, but we do have plenty of spots here at Apartaments Sant Moritz.
Don't let the extra step deter you — many guests find that the scenic ride is a great way to gradually get into the ski-holiday mindset.
What is There to Do Off the Slopes in Arinsal?
At 5,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by picturesque mountains, hitting the slopes is the obvious thing to do in Arinsal. But if you're looking to unwind after a long day, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find what more Andorra has in store for you.
Aside from its scenic views and ski adventures, Arinsal offers a vibrant nightlife with the perfect blend of après-ski relaxation and a shopping scene for the days you don’t ski.
Arinsal’s Nightlife and Après Ski Options
It's called a ski holiday, but there's enough exertion involved in a day on the slopes that you're definitely entitled to some serious relaxation afterward. Our picks for eating and drinking in Arinsal are:
- El Cabin Bar and Restaurant both for its sunny balcony with a view of the river and their theme nights (with everything from trivia to live music.)
- Polar Bar’s patio has the best view in Arinsal where you can gaze dreamily at the slopes with a drink in hand or while enjoying a delicious snack.
- Hunters Sports Bar & Grill has pub food with a Peruvian twist and is always buzzing with life.
- Gustus, in nearby La Massana, is a great option for a more upscale, chef-driven meal.
Where to Go Shopping in Arinsal
Apart from skiing, shopping is one of the main draws bringing people to Andorra. From the moment you step into the markets in Andorra, you'll be spoilt for choice with only the best.
Here in Arinsal, Supermercat Sant Moritz has a broad selection of luxury food-and-drink items imported from across Europe and the UK. Also, the Esports Sant Moritz outlets are a great place to find the latest ski and snowboard equipment in winter.
For more shopping options in Andorra, you may want to head to Andorra la Vella. It is a short drive away or you can hop on an hourly bus between the stop next to the gondola in Arinsal and La Poste in Andorra la Vella. It runs on Cooperativa Interurbana Andorrana’s Line 5 and the fare is €3.30, paid in cash to the driver.
Other Off-Slope Activities
There are world-class spa options a short drive away from Arinsal. Caldea and Inúu are both extremely popular options for a day of relaxation and are especially attractive on those rare days where the weather closes the ski runs at Vallnord.
Book Your Arinsal Accommodation
After you've sorted out the details of when to ski, what you'll need, and how to get here, booking comfortable accommodation is the next step. Apartment-style lodging is the most flexible and suitable option for a winter vacation, especially when you consider the gear and setup involved.
Just steps from the gondola, we're right in the middle of the action for ski holidays in Arinsal. We’ll be happy to have you stay here at Apartaments Sant Moritz during your Andorran ski holidays and help you with any travel-related advice.
Our apartment-style lodgings are the perfect choice for stress-free and personalized ski holidays in Arinsal. We even offer some of the best views without compromising on privacy. Get in touch for the best possible rate.