The Pyrenees Mountains offer the most southerly skiing in Europe. The ski area boasts sun-drenched slopes, authentic mountain villages, traditional local cuisine, and all at an affordable price.
The Pyrenees has a large number of ski resorts within a small area, all linked via a modern road network. Ski infrastructure here has undergone significant modernisation in recent years, yet resorts remain traditional in style with pretty old stone houses and picturesque streets.
Andorra, Spain, and the French Pyrenees have plenty to offer skiers and snowboarders. Andorra's biggest ski area is Grandvalira, comprised of 193 kilometres of runs and six villages, the two most popular resorts in the area are Pas de la Casa and Soldeu. Here, skiers will find runs for all levels, sunny slopes, English-speaking ski instructors, and best of all - duty-free shopping. Pas de la Casa has shopping malls selling perfumes, cosmetics, clothing, accessories, luxury items, as well as alcohol and tobacco. (See: "Duty-Free Shopping On The Mountain").
Ski infrastructure here has undergone significant modernisation in recent years, yet resorts remain traditional in style with pretty old stone houses and picturesque streets
Andorran resorts are well equipped with accommodation for all budgets, from simple bed and breakfasts to large lavish hotels. There is also professional childcare facilities at low prices or free to guests of some of the bigger hotels. The lively resort of Pas de la Casa is popular for its nightlife and is Andorra's number-one party resort. In comparison, Soldeu is smaller and quieter and a hit with families.
The Grandvalira ski area offers the same in-resort facilities as you'd find in the Alps - childcare, restaurants, shopping - but often at a lower price. A Grandvalira lift pass (193km) offers good value for money at €213 for a six-day pass. This is comparitively cheaper than leading resorts in the Alps: Chamonix in France offers less terrain (155km) at the higher price of €240, and Adelboden-Lenk in Switzerland offers a similar size terrain (210km) at the higher price of €251. Grandvalira is similar in size and price to Saalbach-Hinterlgemm, Austria which has 200 kilometres of piste at €201.50 for a six-day pass.
The Pyrenees offers the same in-resort facilities as you'd find in the Alps - childcare, restaurants, shopping - but often at a lower price
Formigal, Aragón is the largest ski resort in Spain and is known for its exceptional sunshine: the Spanish sun extends along the ski area into all four valleys. The resort is home to two snowparks and 137 kilomeres of terrain. A six-day ski pass costs €201. Other ski resorts in Spain include Baquiera Beret, La Molina, and Sierra Nevada - Europe's most southerly ski resort.
The French Pyrenees boasts reliable snowfall and is recommended for families and beginners. The resort of Cambre d´Aze-Eyne (25 runs) offers one of the cheapest ski passes in Europe at €23 per day and is particularly popular with students and families. Cambre d'Aze also offers access to the 203 pistes of the Neiges Catalanes Ski Area which comprises nine resorts: Bolquere Pyrenees 2000, Cambre d'Aze, Cerdagne Puigmal, Font Romeu, Formigueres, La Quillane, Les Angles, Porte Puymorens, and Puyvalador.
Pyrenean cuisine features homemade traditional dishes using plenty of fresh, local produce. You can expect to find fresh grilled meat, usually beef, although a lot of the dishes are made with game, lots of seasonal vegetables like mushrooms and typical roasts, soups made with chic-peas, fish and seafood.
The ski resorts in the Pyrenees are easily accessed by air: Grandvalira, Andorra is within 2.5 hours of Barcelona Airport and three hours from Toulouse Airport; Formigal, Spain is within 1.5 hours of Huesca Airport and 2.5 hours from Zaragoza Airport; the Neiges Catalanes Ski Area, French Pyrenees is 1.5 hours from Perpignan Airport.