Sunny skiing, bargain beers and sumptuous spas
Checking the weather forecast we finally got the news we all wanted…snow
…and cold temperatures. Having struggled with very little snow for the first 2 months of the season I really didn't know what to expect as we set off from a surprisingly snowy London. Andorra
is situated equidistant from Toulouse and Barcelona airports, both enduring a 3-hour transfer. We flew into a warm and sunny Barcelona Airport with palm trees swaying in the breeze and were promptly whisked off to our awaiting shuttle bus. Winding our way up past the somewhat unusual but breath-taking mountains of Montserrat I started to realise just how isolated Andorra is, being the same size as the Isle of White it's the perfect little place to explore and get away from it all.
Pal in the Vallnord
ski area was our first port of call, despite the severe lack of snow the resort was doing wonders with the cannons and the slopes had a fairly good covering of artificial snow. Unfortunately, though, this meant that the links to the rest of the area were closed. With such glorious weather it was a perfect excuse to kick back and enjoy a few beers accompanied by some fantastic local cuisine - tapas, which is a definite must. Grandvalira
had similar issues with the lack of snow, constantly running snow cannons and moving snow to keep the slopes topped up. We did manage to ski from Soldeu to Canillo covering a bit of ground and again encountering some magnificent restaurants and food along the way, all very reasonably priced.
It is clear in both areas that massive investment is being made with new ski lifts, funiculars, hotels and road tunnels making access around the ski areas and country extremely quick and easy.
If snow cover isn't that great it is quite viable to ski both areas during your stay. This option is helped significantly with the regular local buses and unlike many other countries you can buy a ski pass to cover all resorts in both ski areas. The pass is called the Ski Andorra
pass and is available for 5 non-consecutive days valid for the whole season 2007/2008 for 175 Euro. For more info call: + 376 805 200.
Andorra has a lot to offer off the slopes. Andorra La Vella (the capital of Andorra) is a shopping hub buzzing with locals and tourists alike picking up a bargain or two. Remembering to keep export laws in mind (and the size of your suitcase) a litre of Sambuca can be picked up for as little as 5 Euro. Popular international clothing chains and brand names feature on the main shopping street, this really is shopping heaven. Caldea is Europe's largest thermal spa and a must do on your list. The pamplemousse spa, outdoor whirpools and magnificent steam room cannot be missed. This massive complex can easily fill up an afternoon and is perfect for soothing the aches and pains of that first day of skiing.
As for après ski, a few of us ventured out for the night in Soldeu starting at Fat Alberts bar, where we met up with a couple of locals and after a few extremely strong G&T's we were dancing to the live band. As expected the nights start late and end late here, by 2.30am it was time for us to go home, however apparently it was still to early to venture down to the next nightspot, The Pussy Cat Club. If you prefer a more sophisticated evening, The Budda Bar in Andorra La Vella is probably more your thing, with a restaurant and chill out area this contemporary venue will cater for all your needs from early evening, until the early morning. Report:
Alexa Jeggo 2007