For great value European skiing, the Andorran resort of Arinsal is hard to beat.
It's in the fab Vallnord ski area, where the resorts of Pal and Ordino-Arcalis are also to be found - with a cable car and bus service providing a link to Pal.
These two areas combined offer 90kms of skiing and snowboarding, whilst Arcalis - with outstanding skiing for intermediates - is also accessible by means of a frequently-running ski bus.
Arinsal is particularly good for beginners and intermediate skiers, with beautiful runs to firstly give you confidence, and then improve your skills when you move to the next level.
One of the stand out reasons to love the place is the high quality of the ski instructors, plus the fact that they - and most other locals - speak excellent English, so there's no language barrier to worry about.
Off Piste Skiing in Arinsal
Most of the skiing in Arinsal is to be found on-piste, but you don't have far to go if you want to explore further - with Arcalis offering a wider range of off-piste action.
Family Skiing in Arinsal
Arinsal is ideal families, thanks in no small part to the fact that an excellent kindergarten allows parents to escape to the slopes for a while, knowing their little ones are having fun in complete safety.
The ski schools previously mentioned are also perfect for youngsters who want to learn the ropes, with the gentle nursery slopes also being well suited to children who might be taking to the snow for the first time.
Special deals on children's lift passes are also available.
Apres-Ski in Arinsal
Chic restaurants and friendly bars can all be found within Arinsal - helping to create a lively but family-friendly environment after a day on the snow.
When it comes to dining, you can make the most of delicious Catalan cuisine, sample some Tex-Mex at Cisco's or pizza and pasta at El Moli?
In fact, Arinsal offers truly international dining, with Argentinian, Chinese and Japanese options as well as eateries that offer a traditional Basque menu.
Many bars offer evening activities like quiz nights and table football, with plenty of options if you simply want somewhere to enjoy a drink on an evening.
Non-Skiing Activities in Arinsal
Off the slope activities - apart from the inevitable shopping in a largely duty-free country - include mushing, paragliding, helicopter trips, sledging, tubing, skidooing, snowshoeing and ski biking.
Gary's Little Gems in Arinsal
I think Arinsal's ideally suited to families as kids can ski for free and there is a good selection of beginner slopes and a kids' area near the town. Once you have a good day on the slopes, you can satisfy your hunger with some lovely Catalan cuisine and tapas.Yum!
Accommodations in Arinsal
- Resort Altitude: 1550 m
- Highest Lift: 63 km
- Total Piste: 63 km
- Longest Run: 6 km
- Directions of Slopes: N, E
- Total Lifts: 44
- Gondolas/Cable cars: 3
- Chairlifts: 17
- Drag Lifts: 24
- Snow Parks: 1
- Snow Cannons: 360
- Good for Families
- Lively Après Ski
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Approx flight time:
Barcelona International Airport
Calais Ferry Port