When travelling long distance to anywhere normally takes careful planning but this is especially true when planning a ski holiday in Europe when travelling from South Africa – especially if it’s your first time hitting the ski slopes.
Our “Travel from South Africa” guide below should help put your mind at ease but feel free to contact us with any queries
Unpacking a typical Andorra Bookings Holiday package
So, you’re exploring the options for your first snow holiday, and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the jargon and different services on offer. We’ve compiled this guide to assist you with your planning.
First, what services to look for in a typical Andorra Ski package!
Travel from South Africa – As a general rule, most resorts work on 7-night Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday programmes, i.e. guests arrive on a Saturday or Sunday and depart on the corresponding day a week later.
(There are also 10 and 14-night packages available, but for the purposes of this guide we’re focusing on 7-night options.)
Andorra works mostly on a Sunday to Sunday programme and a typical 7-night ski/snow holiday ‘package’ should include the following elements:
- Flights *
- Transfers (i.e. transport to & from the resort)
- Accommodation for 7 nights
- Ski Pass for 6 days
- Ski Rental for 6 days (skis, boots, poles, snowboard, helmet rental)
- Ski School for 5 days.
- Guest Services in the resort
- Travel Insurance ** (With winter sports cover!)
* We don’t offer flight booking as it’s easier and cheaper for guests to book their own flights online. We like using booking sites like Skyscanner.com, TravelStart.co.za and others to search for and compare fares before making bookings.
** Similarly, we don’t offer travel insurance as it’s a specialist service and best purchased directly from one of the many travel insurance companies.
# A note for guests coming from further afield:
Your outbound flights will probably depart on the Saturday (to arrive on Sunday morning) and the homeward flights will land on the Monday. This gives you a total itinerary of 9 nights. Please ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all these travel days.
Our appoach! – If you book your flights and travel insurance, we’ll take care of all your resort & transfer arrangements!
These should be booked to arrive on Sunday morning and depart the following Sunday morning, afternoon or evening.
When exploring flight and airfare options, please remember to select flights that arrive at least 2 hours before your transfer departure time. This will allow sufficient time for any minor flight delays, customs & immigration, luggage collection and to locate your transfer departure point.
To ensure that the arrival & departure times of your proposed flight are synchronised with available group transfer options, please discuss these elements with your Andorra Bookings.com travel advisor before booking your flights. Of course, private transfers can be booked to match any flight arrival & departure times
There are two main ‘gateway’ airports to consider when travelling to Andorra:
Barcelona (BCN) Spain
Toulouse – (TLS) France
This is a term covering the transport options between your arrival airport and the resort. There are generally two types of transfers: group or seat-in-coach (SIC) transfers by coach/shuttle bus or private transfers by car or minivan. Group transfers are almost always the cheaper of the two, as the cost is shared between all the passengers.
There are regular SIC coach transfers between Barcelona and Toulouse airports and Andorra every day although Barcelona offers many more options.
Transfer times to Andorra
Please click on the below link to view the transfer times to the airport/resort.
The coach companies have designated meeting points at the airport. These details will be included in your transfer confirmation information.
There will be one or two ‘nature breaks’ and opportunities to stretch your legs en route.
For more information on our transfer options: https://andorrabookings.com/airport-transfers-andorra/
Where to stay?
Arinsal – (Vallnord Ski Area)
Arinsal/La Massana come under the ski area of Vallnord, which includes the ski areas of Pal and Arinsal.
The resort of Arinsal has a good choice of accommodation ranging from luxury spa hotels to very affordable apartments, there is something to suit all budgets. Arinsal has a great choice of bars and restaurants and is famous as not only being a small friendly family resort but also great for younger groups looking for a lively holiday
Soldeu & El Tarter – (Grandvalira Ski Area)
The resorts of Soldeu & El Tarter form part of the Grandvalira ski area with 210km of piste, which also includes Pas de la Casa.
The two resorts sit side by side and have a very impressive selection of good quality accommodation at affordable prices and a lot of the hotels offer after ski relaxation in their wellness centres. The ski areas suit all levels with impressive facilities for the kids, beginners and advanced levels.
Pas de la Casa – (Grandvalira Ski Area)
Pas de la Casa comes under the ski area of Grandvalira which consists of 210km of piste that also links this resort to Soldeu and El Tarter.
There are a wide range of hotels and apartments to choose from to suit all budgets. Pas de la Casa is a very lively resort with a party atmosphere from 4pm through to 3am.
Lift Passes/Ski Passes
A Ski Pass, also known as a Lift Ticket or Lift Pass, is a skier’s ‘passport to ride’!
A seven night ski package will generally include a six day ski pass valid from the first Monday to the following Saturday. Remember, Sundays are travel days and the opportunities to ski are limited, particularly if one is arriving late and/or departing early.
It is a small RFID (radio frequency ID) embedded card which gives a skier access to the local ski lift network. They contain information like validity periods (e.g. per day, per week or for the season), child or adult, and which parts of the system a skier has access to. The card is attached to or inserted into the ski jacket and will be scanned (usually automatically) at each lift station.
Ski passes are often included in your holiday package, or you can buy individually if you prefer.
For more information on ski passes: https://andorrabookings.com/andorra-lift-passes/
Ski & Snowboard Rental
TIP: Unless you are a regular skier (i.e at least once a year) there is no need to buy this equipment – it’s more expensive and they tend to date quickly!. And besides, the rental stock at most resort shops is generally less than a year old and in excellent condition.
Equipment – Refers to your skis and ski boots, snowboard and boots, poles and helmet. Most South Africans rent this equipment as part of their pre-paid holiday package or on arrival in resort.
Depending on your time of arrival in the resort you may be able to complete the fitting and rental on Sunday afternoon/evening. However, it’s more likely this will happen at the prearranged rental shop on Monday morning before ski school starts.
For more information on Ski Rental options: https://andorrabookings.com/andorra-ski-rental/
Lockers are located at most of the major lift/gondola stations in the resorts or at your accommodation.
Whether you’re a novice or an off-piste powder pro, there’s a level of instruction available to help you develop and refine your skills. Ski school is also a great way to meet like-minded people at a similar ski level, have fun skiing together and share hints and tips with your classmates.
Group Lessons – Conducted in small groups based on your skill level. They take place from Monday to Friday and the times vary slightly from resort to resort
Skiers who progress faster than their classmates are able to move up to more advanced classes during the week.
Private Lessons – Private lessons are a popular choice among regular skiers who need to improve the skills and iron out any bad habits that may have crept in on the previous trip. However, you will be getting one-on-one instruction so expect to pay a lot more than group lessons.
If you are travelling with group of friends or family and you all ski at a similar level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), then private group lessons may be what you’re looking for. Again, class sizes will be limited to +/- 8 people. Adults and Children should be separate still. This is because the children learn much faster than adults and so parents can hold the children’s progress back if they want to be in the same group – If you are a parent this is something that you will need to accept quickly that your children will be much better than you very quickly
Ski Packages for Kids
Created for children between the ages of 4 to 15 years. The package includes 6 days equipment rental, 5 days ski school and a 6 day Lift Pass, all for one great price.
For more information on Ski School options: https://andorrabookings.com/andorra-ski-schools/
Resort Guest Services
The Andorra Bookings resort staff based in Andorra and are available 7 days a week for any questions, guidance or problems you may experience. Also after you have booked your stay with us – you will have a direct email and contact number (what’s app as well) for the Andorra Resort Manager who you can contact at any point before you arrive with as many questions as you want.
Your ski pack vouchers (i.e Lift Pass, Ski equipment and Ski school) will be either hand delivered to you on arrival or left for you at the hotel reception to collect after check in.
All guests have the option to be involved as much or as little as they would like with any activity or services we offer – after all it’s your holiday – your choice
Insurance is probably the last thing one wants to think about when planning an exciting snow holiday. However, comprehensive travel insurance is essential when travelling abroad, irrespective of the adventure.
A good travel insurance product will cover you in the event of delayed or cancelled flights, cancelled accommodation, lost luggage, any injuries or other medical emergencies, and repatriation if required, etc. As always some policies are better than others and T’s & C’s apply, so check those carefully!
It is very important to check that the policy you have chosen includes a winter or adventure sports extension that includes ski & snowboarding. This ensures that you will be covered in the event of an injury on the slopes.
Many short-term insurers offer travel insurance these days, so have a chat with your insurance company. There are also a number of specialist providers to consider too!
We hope you have found this guide useful however should you have any questions you can contact us either
We look forward to welcoming you all in Andorra