Paul & Beth's Trip to the Pyrenees - Andorra
Earlier this month, two of our Halsbury Ski Specialists, Paul and Beth, headed out to the Pyrenees, to see for themselves why the ski resorts we offer here work so well for school groups. Here’s Paul’s account of how they got on in Andorra:
On arrival in Andorra la Vella, we did what most visitors here do and embarked on a spot of tax-free shopping, before taking a look at the giant wheel that had been set up in the city centre for the Christmas and New Year facilities. We also had a look around the Caldea spa, one of the largest in Europe. We were very impressed and could understand why it is such a popular activity amongst our adult groups.
Tired after our exciting day of travel and exploration, we retired to the Hotel Paris in Encamp, which is just 5 minutes’ drive from Andorra la Vella. Next door to the cosy, family-run hotel, which serves great food, is a municipal swimming pool and sports centre, providing some fantastic options for evening activities.
The following day, we took the Funicamp gondola (which was just a five minute bus ride from the hotel) up to the Grandvalira resort. One of the nursery areas is situated at the top of this gondola and there is a great blue run for progression that starts here too, making this a great location for groups of learners, as they can start the day here with everyone else and will have equally fantastic snow conditions throughout the season.
Speaking of the white stuff, despite the fact that, by the time of our trip, there had been very little snow, there was still good coverage throughout the ski area, thanks to both its height and the protected slopes. The sky was sunny and the snow conditions were great, making for a perfect day’s skiing!
Although I had skied here once before, several years ago, I was very impressed by Grandvalira, which really does offer extensive skiing for all abilities and is, in fact, the largest interconnected area in the Pyrenees.
In the afternoon, we drove round to Pas de la Casa, which is on the other side of the Grandvalira area. We have some great hotels here and, as Pas de la Casa is one of the more lively resorts in the area, I would recommend it as a fantastic option for older groups, particularly those who wish to explore the Andorran nightlife.
The following day, we drove over to La Massana, part of the Vallnord area. On arrival, we took the gondola up to Pal, which is on one side of the ski area. The base station at Pal is very modern, but attractive, and offers a number of food outlets which, I can confirm from my own experience, offer great-tasting meals to suit the British palate! I felt that the layout of the base lodge and the beautiful tree-lined skiing give Pal a slightly American feel.
Again, despite the lack of snowfall, a good variety of pistes were open, thanks to the extensive snow-making coverage.
After skiing Pal, we took another gondola which linked the resort directly with Arinsal, on the other side of the Vallnord ski area. After a bit of skiing here, we looked around a number of the hotels that we offer our school groups. I was very impressed with both the standard and the services that they all provide.
That evening, we stocked up on a few souvenirs of our trip and then headed back to the hotel, to begin packing for our adventure in Spain, which would start early the following morning.
See pictures from Paul and Beth's trip on our Facebook page.