Vallnord, Arinsal Ski Resort Guide & Reviews Ski Area, Apres-Ski, Things to see & Do in Arinsal
Arinsal is a high alpine village in the duty free country of Andorra within the Pyrenees mountain range that separates Spain and France. It is part of the ski area known as Vallnord which includes the ski areas of Pal and Ordino - Arcalis. Pal is linked to Arinsal by cable car whereas to ski in Ordino-Arcalis, you need to take the bus or hire a car.
Arinsal is one of the few villages in Andorra that has kept it's charm without being invaded by huge hotels, mass tourism and the never ending coming and going of coaches.
Après-ski in Arinsal is great fun with 13 lively bars and restaurants and plenty of great food - a selection of tapas is a favourite après-ski nibble! One thing to remember though if you plan on eating in restaurants is that they tend not to get busy until around 10pm which is the norm in this part of the world.
|Key information (Whole area)|
|Season||Dec - April|
|Apres ski||Lively & Fun|
Arinsal Ski Area Guide
The ski area is basically in 2 areas spread across 3 resorts and all covered by 1 lift pass :
These resorts and ski areas are connected by a cablecar and provide most of the beginner and early intermediate runs with some fantastic tracks through the forests.
Arcalis is where the better intermediates and advanced skiers and boarders head to. Steeper terrain and good off-piste can be found here. The only issue is that you need to get the ski bus as it's not lift linked to Arinsal-Pal.
Arinsal is a top place for beginners to learn the ropes with 13 green runs to get started on. After that, there are plenty of easy blues and reds especially around the Prat de la Coma and if you are feeling adventerous, try the 6km gentle run back in to town through the trees.
The best place to head for intermediates is Pal as there are more connecting runs and some superb forest tracks to weave through.
Not the best place to find the most challenging terrain as there are only 2 black runs in the Arinsal-Pal area and limited off-piste . However, Arcalis is the place to head to for some serious terrain especially if there has just been a dump as the powder tends to last longer.
There's a 10 acre terrain park between the lift stations linking Arinsal to Pal with a number of boxes, rails, kickers, spines and a half-pipe . Beginner and intermediate snowboarders will love the wide blues and red runs in the area whilst more advanced boarders head to Arcalis.
Featured Big Sky Chalets, Lodges & Condos
Arinsal Accommodation Options
There is plenty of good value accommodation in Arinsal around the town centre, near the slopes or in the nearby village La Massana which is also linked to the Arinsal-Pal ski area by gondola. There are 11 hotels including one 4* that offers half or full board.
For families, a popular choice is renting a chalet or apartment near the centre where you have all the amenities in your doorstep.
As well as skiing, Arinsal offers plenty of other activities on and off the snow.
- Snowmobile for kids and adults
- Snowcat tours
- Bungee jumping
- Speed riding - kite surf
Spa & Wellbeing
The Princess Park hotel in Arinsal has a spa with jacuzzi, saunas and steam rooms. However, one of the highlights of any trip to Arinsal, especially if the weather is not great, is to visit the water park at the Caleda spa.
It has a reputation as being one of the best mountain spas in Europe - perfect for a day out with the whole family. It's in a village called Andorra La Vella and is just 7km from Arinsal.
Our view on Arinsal Ski Resort
We think Arinsal is a good place to try out for a first time skiing experience and family holiday. Its a quaint mountain village and pretty much unspoilt by mass tourism. A few suggestions...
- Combine your trip with a stay in Barcelona
- Get the Club Vallnord card (bookable online at www.vallnord.com). This entitles to discounts on the ski lifts, shops and restaurants ranging from 5%-50%
- For an authentic shopping experience, a 40 minute drive gets you to the Spanish village of La Seu d'Urgell. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, there is a local market around the cathedral where you can buy just about anything! Saturday is probably the best option if you do not want to ski as the slopes get packed at the weekends
- If you are planning on going to ski in Arcalis, we suggest you hire a car as it’s only 20 minutes away. The free bus on the other hand is a nightmare as you have to change in Massana and the journey can take up to 90 minutes
If you like Arinsal being a quaint and charming traditional alpine village then also quite similar is the beautiful resort of Samoens in the Grand Massif ski area of Haute Savoie in France and Val Gardena in the Italian Dolomites.