Andorra. Ski and duty free shopping

Andorra is a tiny, a sovereign landlocked microstate principality, also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains.
The Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent.

Tourism in Andorra sees an estimated 10.2 million visitors annually and has become a popular tourist destination in Europe.

Andorra is famous for the practice of winter sports. It’s known for its ski resorts. Andorra also has many hiking trails which can be explored during the summer months, when the snow has thawed. Popular sports played in Andorra include football, rugby union, basketball, and roller hockey.

But, Skiing is, of course, one of the main reasons millions of visitors keep returning to Andorra each year. Its location right in the middle of the Pyrenees means it has excellent snow conditions and ski resorts at high altitudes, and there are plenty of facilities.

Here are some of the Andorra’s ski resorts, so you can discover which is best for you by the hand of Iberinbound iberinbound@iberinbound.com incoming travel agency in Spain, Andorra and Portugal, MICE, specialized in Group tours if they are Corporate, Educational, Students, Leisure , ad-hoc groups and Shorex. Wine tours for groups in Spain.We can organize sport events for groups of different sizes with their very own priorities, conceptions, budgets and time frames. Our experience in planning sport visits allows us a wide portfolio of ideas and suppliers in order to plan the right trip including entrances, transports, accommodation, guides, etc. Regarding transport, we use modern, safe and comfortable coaches offering great comfort. Our coach companies have an expensive float of different capacities offering the best rates. We’ll take care of all the details of your excursions (coach, guides, visits, entrances, accommodation), so that your group can enjoy the trip and explore the new destination.

Soldeu el Tarter
Soldeu el Tarter sits at the centre of the vast Grandvalira ski area, one of the largest in the Pyrenees, with over 210 kilometres (130 miles) of runs. Essentially, Soldeu and el Tarter are two small villages, both with direct access to the slopes. They’re both upmarket ski resorts with pricey passes, but give access to some of best pistes in the Pyrenees, with excellent snow conditions.

Facilities: The villages give access to 16 green runs, 51 blue runs, 42 red runs and 19 black runs, meaning that they’re ideal for beginners, intermediates and more advanced skiers. Both resorts also have a number of ski schools, snow gardens and nurseries, while El Tarter is home to the El Tarter Snowpark – perfect for snowboarders, and a children’s snow circuit. Between them, Soldeu and El Tarter have a good range of accommodation and nightlife options. El Tarter is a little more laid back than Soldeu, and is probably better for families.

Pas de la Casa-Grau Roig
Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig sit on the other side of the Grandvalira ski area, next to the border with France. They also give access to all of the 210 kilometres (130 miles) of slopes in Grandvalira, and all the various levels of runs.

Facilities: Pas de la Casa and Grau Roig sit right next to each other, but have a very different feeling to one another. Pas de la Casa has a great shopping centre and is very lively, with a buzzing après ski scene. It is particularly popular with teens and young adults, as well as snowboarders. Grau Roig, on the other hand, is very quiet and has no commercial centre. It’s home to one luxurious hotel and spa, and also offers an Imaginarium Circuit through the forest, specifically designed for toddlers.

Vallnord Pal-Arinsal
The Vallnord ski area is smaller than Grandvalira, but still overs over 90 kilometres (56 miles) of slopes and top-notch ski conditions. It’s located in the west of the country, and Pal-Arinsal resort can be found on its western edge. There are great high-speed ski lifts and gondalas, which connect the two neighbouring resorts.

Facilities: Arinsal is a ski-in, ski-out resort, meaning that you can ski right from your hotel without having to take a lift. Here, you’ll find seven green runs, 15 blue runs, 16 red runs and four black runs, meaning it’s best for beginners and intermediate skiers. It’s also a great place for free-riders and snowboarders, and offers a good range of nightlife options. Pal, on the other hand, is closest to the commercial centre of Andorra la Vella, and is ideal for family skiing. It also offers other winter sports such as snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, mushing and sledging.

Vallnord Arcalis
Arcalis sits in the Ordino Valley and also gives access to the Vallnord ski area. It’s a favourite with nature lovers, with lots of forests, beautiful valleys and dramatic gorges. It also has great snow conditions.

Facilities: The resort offers seven green runs, six blue runs, 10 red runs and two black runs, less than Pal-Arinsal, but still a good number for beginners and intermediate skiers. Other benefits for beginners are the longest beginners’ run in Andorra and a good ski school. Children will love the Arcalis Family park, with rides and teddy-bear mascots.

Duty Free. Andorra is able to sell a wide range of duty-free products and a tax-haven status that encourages duty-free shopping. Capital Andorra la Vella has boutiques and jewelers on Meritxell Avenue and several shopping centers.

Culture. Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque art are one of the most important artistic manifestations and characteristics of the Principality.

Romanesque churches and old houses of interest are located in Ordino, Encamp, Sant Julia de Loria, Les Escaldes, Santa Coloma, and other villages. The best known is the shrine of Our Lady of Meritxell, Andorra’s patroness, between Canillo and Encamp. The old quarter, Barri Antic, Romanesque Santa Coloma Church, with a circular bell tower.
Pilgrims come from France and Spain to pay homage on September 8, the festival day of Andorra’s patroness.

Gastronomy. Andorran gastronomy is mainly Catalan, although it has also adopted other elements of French and Italian cuisines. The cuisine of the country has similar characteristics with the neighbors of the Cerdanya and the Alt Urgell, with whom it has a strong cultural ties. Andorra’s cuisine is marked by its nature as mountain valleys. Typical dishes of the country are the quince all-i-oli, the duck with winter pear, the lamb in the oven with nuts, pork civet, the massegada cake, the escarole with pear trees, confited duck and mushrooms, escudella, spinach with raisins and pine nuts, jelly marmalade, stuffed murgues (mushrooms) with pork, dandelion salad and the Andorran trout of river. To drink, the mulled wine and beer are also popular. Some of the dishes are very common in the mountainous regions of Catalonia, such as trinxat, sausages, cooked snails, rice with mushrooms, mountain rice and mató.