Local facilities 4
(i.e. Restaurants, hire shops)
Slope conditions 3
Lift system 3
Skiing / boarding experience
Apres ski 4
Gandvalira is a ski region in Andorra and according to the piste map it is the largest skiable territory in Southern Europe. The ski area is made up of 6 linked sectors which include Pas de la Casa, Grau Roig, Soldeu, El Tarter, Canillo and Encamp which in total gives you 210 km skiable slopes
We flew into Barcelona then had a 3.5 hour bus transfer up to resort. We stayed in a chalet in a small village on the outskirts Soldeu, right next to one of the three snowparks in the Grandvalira area. This snow park was open 4 till 9 every night and a great area for boarders and skiers to practise tricks!
There was a bit of a shortage of snow during our visit but the snow cannons had been blasting every night so they really did the best they could to keep the pistes open. Only a few were closed and were mostly blacks or the slopes with no cannons. I personally preferred the Grau Roig sector for its wide runs and the snow seemed to hold up best here too.
Our favourite restaurant for lunch was located in the Pas de la Casa Sector at the bottom of the Costa Rodona lift called CBbC Ibiza and really ticked all the boxes! Great food, good value, friendly service, stunning views and a lovely atmosphere! So good in fact a couple of times we relaxed too much too long and it was a race back over to catch the last lift home! We tried a few of the meals during our visits including Sushi, club sandwich, fillet steak and grilled sausages so a fairly varied menu!
The atmosphere in the town of Soldeu was equally friendly as up the mountain. There is a good selection of bars including The Harp, a Irish themed bar with regular live music. A few doors down is the Aspen bar which has pool tables and table football. Just round the corner behind the main street is Fat Alberts which has a bar upstairs and a restaurant downstairs. We ate here when it was the chalet hosts night off and I’ve got to say the food was delicious! The restaurant was full and that was a Monday night so advisable to book in advance.
One very small negative to note is that Andorra isn’t included in the majority of European phone packages so it wasn’t as cheap to make or take calls. However in terms of technology the majority of the mountain was covered by free WiFi access.
We paod $240 for a 6 day lift pass and $125 for 6 day ski hire. Drinks and lunches definitely seemed cheaper than the majority of Austrian reorts I have visited.
All considered I thought Soldeu was a little gem and possibly sometimes overlooked. The risks of course are the snow conditions, given the latitude but if you are prepared to hang on for late deal whilst keeping an eye on the snow then Andorra is a great place to consider.