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Arinsal

Arinsal may remain one of Europe’s most underrated ski destinations, but year on year it closes the gap on the larger resorts. With some of the sunniest skiing in Europe, incredible duty free shopping and dining and a massive range of off slope activities, Arinsal is a more than viable alternative, especially during the busiest weeks of the season.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Lively après ski • Varied ski area • Family friendly skiing

Great for: • Mixed ability groups • Non skiers • First time skiers • Families

Arinsal may remain one of Europe’s most underrated ski destinations, but year on year it closes the gap on the larger resorts. With some of the sunniest skiing in Europe, incredible duty free shopping and dining and a massive range of off slope activities, Arinsal is a more than viable alternative, especially during the busiest weeks of the season.

Arinsal Resort

Shedding its reputation as the cheap and cheerful ski option, Arinsal (and the entire Vallord ski area) is now ready to play with the big boys. Whilst it may not be able to compete like for like with the French Alps in terms of vertical, there’s ample terrain for a week’s trip now the ski area has been increased by the lift link to Pal and the inclusion of the nearby Ordino-Arcalis on the same pass. And as with any trip to tax friendly Andorra you’ll end up more than impressed with the amount you’ll save throughout the week.

Traditionally separate entities, the villages of Pal and Arinsal have combined with the lower valley town of La Massana (via a gondola) and also the nearby ski area at Arcalis to create the larger ski area of Vallnord. Arinsal is the liveliest of the areas in which to stay, though La Massana could be a better bet for more advanced skiers as allows easier access to the more extreme terrain up the valley at Arcalis.

The resort is just up the road from the capital Andorra La Vella, so if you fancy a break from the slopes, the town’s cut price designer boutiques can be found only around 15 minutes from the resort.

Although Arinsal still doesn’t receive the same crowds as the more central European resorts, this is certainly not at the expense of any atmosphere. The resorts lively reputation is well founded, and with food and drink available at what is often only a fraction of the cost of larger resorts, it’s easy get into the spirit off the slopes.

Transfers to the resort are unfortunately on the long side, though the wide range of airports flown into helps keep costs down during the traditionally expensive peak weeks.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Andorra, Pyrenees.

Established: 1973

Open: December - April

Downhill: 93km

View our detailed Arinsal snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Arinsal snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Lleida l’Alguaire Airport160km
Toulous Blagnac200km
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 35runs 52%

  • 26runs 39%

  • 6runs 9%

Top Altitude:2625m
Bottom Altitude:1550m
Resort Altitude:1475m
Longest run:6km
Slope Orientation:NE, E
Vertical Drop:1150m
Skiable Vertical:1010m
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 30cm
  • Base
  • 110cm
  • Forecast
  • 140cm

Web Cam

Arinsal web cams
Downhill Runs:93km
Beginner slopes:52%
Intermediate:39%
Advanced slopes:9%
Lift Pass Price: 195€ (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Pas de la Casa, Soldeu & El Tarter

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Arinsal

There’s a great variety of terrain throughout Vallnord, and skiers of all abilities and disciplines are well catered for.

The area at the top of the La Massana gondola in Pal is the perfect place for beginners to start getting to grips with the snow. The three short drag lifts service gentle green runs which are left unmolested by more experienced skiers. There is also a ‘snow garden’ which will keep youngsters entertained, whilst the many slope side restaurants allow for a well-earned break- the tapas at the Caubella Coffee usually hits the spot.

The runs from the Pic Del Cubil are sure to please intermediates. The Coll de la Botella is one of the longest in resort, and if you’re feeling brave you can branch off on the way down and take your chances on the carving area in the slalom stadium. Likewise, over in Arinsal the lengthy La Solana winds its way down from the top of the Port Negre chairlift all the way to the base of the mountain. The freeride area accessed by the La Capa chairlift is definitely worth investigating before you consider a trip to Arcalis.

Arcalis is a 20 minute journey from Arinsal and this, coupled with its relative lack of mountain base amenities, serves to keep all but the committed and experienced away- great news for advanced skiers looking to make the most of some of the more challenging terrain in the region. The freeriding area underneath the Creussans lift is one of the largest in Andorra, and Arcalis is also home to some of the best heli-skiing in the country. For freestylers there are snowparks in both Arcalis and Arinsal- Arinsal’s is managed and created by ASP snowparks and the features on show put many in larger resorts to shame.

Arinsal Apres Ski

Arinsal comes alive in the evenings, and with the regions strong Basque influences the locals certainly know how to party- duty free prices mean you won’t be breaking the bank either.

There is a wide selection of bars also serving good food if you enjoy settling in for the evening. Ciscos’ restaurant serves tex mex style dishes- their Cajun mango chicken is delicious- and the downstairs bar is popular with English tourists and the ex-pat community. Quo Vadis is a more informal affair- a lively après ski bar that regularly shows live sport, it has a diverse menu serving all manner of goodies- burgers, steaks, pies and chilli to name but a few.

El Cau is the bar you want to head to from the slopes if you’re in the mood for a lively night out. Drinking games are encouraged, and with themed events including beach parties and the infamous 70’s night it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the resorts most popular venues.

Surf serves all manner of Argentinian meat dishes- with more than generous portion sizes- and when the dinner crowd has dissipated it turns into one of the resort’s busiest nightclubs, often open well into the early hours of the morning.

For a special occasion, El Rus in La Massana is reportedly one of the best restaurants in the entire country. Specialising in Basque cuisine, the amply stocked wine cellar boasts over 300 different varietals.

If anyone fancies a day off skiing there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Ski biking, sledging and snow snaking (small sledges joined together!) are all available on the slopes whilst laser combat is a great alternative for competitive groups. If it’s a new adrenaline rush you’re after then take a snow buggy or snowmobile for a spin, or even try your hand at paraskiing!

Best time to go

Best time to ski Arinsal

When is the best time to ski Arinsal?

If you’re fed up of spending the school holidays stuck in a queue for ski lifts behind what seems like half of the children in mainland Europe (not to mention the holiday crowd from back home) then a trip to Arinsal may be the answer to your prayers. Although still busy during the height of the season, the queues for lifts and congestion on the slopes are nowhere near as bad as in the more well-known resorts. Whilst Andorra still cannot compete with Europe in terms of pure skiable vertical, the snow coverage and infrastructure has come on to such an extent as to make it a viable destination throughout the season, and you are assured of a friendly reception whenever you visit!

Peak Dates

Christmas in Arinsal will be an experience like no other. With an enchanting mix of French, Spanish and Catalan cultures you’ll find yourself swept away by the Christmas spirit. Browse Arinsal Christmas ski holidays ‣

Spend New Year in Arinsal and you’ll have an epic time partying with the locals whilst you make the most of the duty free drinks prices in resort. Browse Arinsal New Year ski holidays ‣

A February Half Term in Arinsal will have you wondering why there’s so much fuss about queues elsewhere! With some great skiing at a fraction of the expected cost it’s almost a no brainer. Browse Arinsal Half Term ski holidays ‣

Easter in Arinsal will see everyone having fun in the sun on the slopes. Avoid the slush later on with a cold drink in one of the many amazing mountain bars. Browse Arinsal Easter ski holidays ‣

Arinsal Ratings & Customer Feedback
Superb
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Good
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Okay
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Poor
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Average Rating 4.2 out of 5
Arinsal is very good value, there’s a lot of 2 for 1 stuff and vouchers that you can pull off the Arinsal website where you can get a free pizza in a bar and happy hours and stuff. All the bars and things posted their own vouchers so there’s usually a lot up there that you can print off and use in resort. We... + more
Dr Darrell Desouza, Uxbridge
4 out of 5
The bars in Arinsal may seem few and far between but they are enough for 1 week. We found ourselves in Ciscos every day and night it was that good. The lady owner and the staff were very friendly all the time and the themed parties every night were great - The food there is also brilliant as the club has 3 floo... + more
Perminder Devgun, Birmingham
4 out of 5
Arinsal is more a place for beginners and intermediates rather than for experts, but I went with my boys with all of us as beginner snowboarders, and it was perfect for that. I wouldn’t rate it as an expert ski resort but even if you feel like you’re going on the same slopes again and again, you have access t... + more
Anthony Brown, Thatcham
4 out of 5
The skiing is great for beginners, it was my first ski holiday and my partner had been once before – he was up doing the reds in no time. You can get the cable car over the top to another local slope or hop on the bus and go down to another area. The snow was very good while we were there in February, there ... + more
Maria Hicks, Milford Haven
5 out of 5
I hadn’t been to Arinsal before – the mountain is amazing! We had two days of brilliant sunshine, when everything was open and a couple of days of heavy snow when the top of the mountain was closed... you need to get to the top of the mountain to get to the other areas but because it was closed we had to get ... + more
Damon Hickinbotham, Lowestoft
5 out of 5
Arinsal is such a lovely little spot and I’ve been here several times. Everything is within walking distance (the furthest place would probably be 150m away) and there’s a little river that runs through the village which makes the place very pretty. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the village, i... + more
Donald Brown, London
5 out of 5
I really like Arinsal, we’ve been there twice. It had too much snow while we were here and a lot of the runs were closed.The skiing is best for intermediates and beginners, if you’re looking for black runs, they are few and far between. There’s really good access if you go up the mountain as you can go down ... + more
Mark Scott, Newtownabbey
4 out of 5
Hadn’t been to Arinsal before but wanted to try something different and really enjoyed it! The skiing is at the easy end of the scale but there are a couple of good snowparks if you want that sort of thing. It’s so quiet that even though it only snowed on the day we got there, I was still finding untouched of... + more
Richard Baybutt, Sheffield
4 out of 5
A very family friendly resort. It’s a small town but I couldn’t wish for a better place. My daughter learnt to ski here and she loved it. It’s great for beginners. Initially she didn’t want to go on the gondola, she wanted to stick to the nursery slopes, but within 2 days she had really progressed and I cou... + more
Mark Till, Leicestershire
5 out of 5
First time in Arinsal and we absolutely loved it. We will definitely go back. As a snowboarder I had a cracking time and the ski area was ideal, just what we needed for a first snow holiday. Our tour operator tried to sell us a wristband for 10 euros which gives you discounts in the bars and restaurants but... + more
Julian S., North Lincolnshire
5 out of 5
I have nothing to pitch Arinsal against but this seemed to be a really good ski resort, the slopes were nice and wide and we had so much snow that they were really powdery all week – we were really lucky. We had two days of closure (due to high winds) which was a bit of a pain. On the first day we went down ... + more
Yatesy, Cornwall
5 out of 5
We had a really good week in Arinsal, we were all new to the resort (although one of us had skied in Pas de la Casa before) and all liked it. We had one really hot day in the middle of the week which meant the snow wasn’t great for the rest of the holiday – had the conditions been better we would have had an ... + more
Alice, Devon
4 out of 5
The snow was average to poor over New Years, but it’s a nice little resort and it would be nice to explore it again when there’s good snow. Generally, it’s a good place for beginners and intermediates, but there would definitely be more for expert skiers and snowboarders (they host the Freeride world cup jus... + more
Greg Adams, Gloustershire
3 out of 5
A small resort that’s best for beginners and intermediates, with a great mix of reds and blues. It doesn’t have that many testing runs to be honest - you’d need to go over to Andorra’s other ski area, Grandvalira, for those. We spent a lot of time at Cisco’s as we’re friendly with the owner there. + more
John,
3 out of 5
We visited Arinsal the year before which was the first time we’d skied. We felt like we hadn’t really seen the mountains so decided to come back as better skiers. I would definitely recommend Arinsal to beginner / early skiers. The tuition is amazing! Because the resort is so small everyone is really friendly... + more
Charlotte, Plymouth
5 out of 5
First time in Arinsal and we enjoyed it, we’re already thinking that we might go back next year. The skiing’s good and the atmosphere in town is nice. Ski school was really good. We had a mix of beginners and intermediates and everyone enjoyed the ski area. + more
James, Manchester
5 out of 5
We had a lot of fun in Arinsal. When we arrived it was pretty warm so we were worried, but then we had heavy snow on the mountain. It was my first time here, and although I wouldn’t go back (4 hour transfer is a bit long) I would recommend it to other people. The ski area is especially good for middle/intermed... + more
Elliot,
4 out of 5
Lovely resort, friendly people, great for families. We hope to return next season. Tip top! + more
The Smith Family,
4 out of 5
The resort was good, perfect for families. The resort is also very beautiful and picturesque. It was good enough to get some skiing under your belt, but if I wasn’t skiing with my children, I don’t think it would have been interesting enough. If you are a good skier and looking to ski all day, it might not be... + more
Duncan,
4 out of 5
The resort is a lot smaller than other resorts I’ve been to. I would say that if you are a really good/advanced skier and looking to ski a lot, there isn’t much for you. I went with a friend (both great skiers) and had a great time. I wouldn’t say there are plenty of slopes, but it was fine for us. + more
Helen,
4 out of 5
Quite a good ski area, especially for advanced intermediates. We were a mixed group and it was great for us. It’s a good all round resort and I was impressed! + more
James, Sale
4 out of 5
We’ve been to Arinsal before, we like it. It’s an ideal location for beginners. Good for families and people with young children. + more
Nicholas O'Neill, Liverpool
4 out of 5
Arinsal is generally nice but it’s a small place. I was a skiing and my boyfriend was snowboarding, the actual resort is pretty small but it’s linked to another resort that you can go over to. It’s definitely a good place for beginners, not so much for advanced. There’s nightlife if you need it in the e... + more
Anna Frith, Stockport
4 out of 5
Arinsal’s alright, the skiing is a little limited but you can link over on the gondola to Pal where the skiing is a lot better. At the beginning of the 2014/15 season the snow was rubbish which meant that quite a lot of the local area was closed. However there were more runs open over the gondola so we had eno... + more
David N, Bristol
3 out of 5
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Families in Arinsal

With a huge well trained team of international instructors (most of whom speak good conversational English) and some fantastic learner terrain, Arinsal Vallnord is in with a shout of being one of the most family friendly ski destinations in the whole of Europe, especially if you’re taking youngsters skiing for the first time. With lower costs for the whole trip (accommodation, ski lessons, eating out) it’s also a lower risk venue for a first time ski holiday if you’re not quite sure how well the little ones will take to skiing. Though even if it turns out they may not be the pro skiers of tomorrow, there’s plenty to keep them occupied in this snowy wonderland, with dog sledding, snow snaking and sledging just a selection of the family friendly activities to choose from.

Older children that have already fallen in love the mountains will be immediately at home on the good selection of greens and blues in the Pal area- and the progression to the reds around Pal and Arinsal is a gentle one indeed. More advanced and adventurous skiers will soon be pestering the parents to make the trip to Arcalis, where you will find some of the best freeriding in Andorra, as well as a reasonable sized snow park.

Any part time skiing parents will be spoilt for choice if they’re looking to rest for a few runs- there are more slopeside restaurants and watering holes than you can shake a stick at, with the sunny terrace at La Coma being a particular favourite. Eating out with the family is also a much more affordable past time in Arinsal- Cisco’s tex mex menu is a sure-fire crowd pleaser, as are the pizzas at La Pampa.

GroupsGroup Holidays Arinsal

For committed powder hounds looking to rack up the vertical descents whilst skiing from dawn till dusk Arinsal may not be ideal location, but all other groups are going to find themselves quickly caught up in the vibrant après scene and appealingly unpretentious skiing.

Beginners in the group will find learning much less traumatic on the quieter slopes of Pal than they would elsewhere, and with generally favourable weather conditions and plentiful (not to mention affordable) on slope restaurants there’s no need to feel pressured into skiing until you drop! Intermediates will enjoy skiing the approachable reds throughout Pal and Arinsal, and with a shallow learning transition from the greens to blues it won’t be long before the whole group can spend a few hours together each day. If the more advanced members of the group get a bit fed up with waiting around then they can take a day trip to Arcalis. Covered by the same pass and just a short bus ride away from Arinsal, it’s home to some of the best freeriding in Andorra, and if anyone’s feeling a bit flush it’s also the base of one of Andorra’s premier heli skiing operations.

There’s a good range of activities off the slopes for any non-skiers as well. The resort’s only twenty minutes from the country’s capital, Andorra La Vella, so shopaholics can nip down for some duty free shopping and a spa day if it’s all getting a bit much for them in resort. You can also get some friendly competition going with a few games of laser combat, or take some ski bikes for a spin after a day on the slopes. Even if the group’s doomed to ski separately during the week, there’s plenty of time (and places) to catch up over a drink or two in the evening. Many chose to start the their après whilst still on the slopes- La Coma’s terrace has some outstanding views of the local area, and is an ideal place for the first post skiing beer of the day. The Derby Irish bar’s a good shout if anyone’s desperate to catch up with the football, or even if you’re all just keen for some home comforts. With regular drinks offers and fancy dress parties, El Cau is one of the liveliest bars in town so if you’re planning on a few big nights out it’s definitely the venue for you- hopefully there’s room in the suitcases for some of your favourite novelty costumes!

Which are the best ski holidays in Arinsal?

Accommodation Number of nights Price (per person) from
Hotel Diana Parc 3 £ 483
Diana Parc & Spa Hotel 7 £ 1139
Hotel Princesa Parc & Spa 7 £ 1029
Hotel Princesa Parc 3 £ 453
Hotel Magic Ski 7 £ 459
Hotel Magic Massana 7 £ 459
Hotel Xalet Verdu 7 £ 439
Hotel Palarine 7 £ 449
Aparthotel Xalet Besoli (Hotel) 7 £ 389
Hotel Montane 7 £ 439

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