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DIY TO ANDORRA - Catherine Cooper, Pas de la Casa, Andorra
Friday March 8, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

More and more people are now opting to travel independently. PlanetSKI goes it alone with Pierre et Vacances in Andorra.



Some of the advantages of this include being able to choose exactly when, where and for how long you travel, as well as potentially being able to save you some money.

I‘ve just been in Andorra for a short trip - easily accessible from the UK via either Toulouse or Barcelona.

All these airports are served by several low-cost airlines and in the winter school holidays at least, flights will usually be significantly cheaper than to the Alps.

From here you can either get a direct bus or, probably more simply, hire a car.

The ski area of Grandvalira in Andorra is made up of several resorts which vary in size and style.

Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances
















Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances















For this trip, we stayed in Pas de la Casa, the first resort you reach from the French side and, based at 2,100 metres, the highest of the resorts.

With plenty of bars, clubs and duty-free supermarkets, it's more Ibiza than Verbier, and probably not to everyone's taste.

But there are also some great restaurants here and you can ski straight back to the resort.

We stayed at Pierre et Vacances' recently refurbished Hotel Grand Pas, in a quiet location just above the centre of town.

Our sixth-floor room had stunning views over the pistes and  a spacious bathroom .

There were a few extras such as free WiFi, daily cleaning, Nespresso machines, dressing gowns and slippers - things you might not normally associate with the company generally known for self-catering apartments.

There was a small indoor pool with sauna and jacuzzi in the basement, as well as a large bar with fireplace, kids' playroom and a buffet restaurant.

An impressive breakfast with a huge range of both hot and cold options is included in the room rate.

The pistes are a 50 metre walk away.

Going DIY does not mean you have to slum it.

Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances



















The reception staff are helpful (if busy) and happy to point you in the right direction for restaurants and ski passes etc.

Discounts are also available on ski packs if you book before your arrival.

Pierre et Vacances also offer several self-catering options, both in Pas de la Casa and other resorts in Andorra.

There are numerous well-stocked supermarkets throughout the resort which are pleasingly different from UK ones.

Rows and rows of hams, olives, cheeses and, of course, duty-free drinks and cigarettes.

Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances
















Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances
















While you can opt for a perfectly acceptable-looking evening meal at the hotel for €20 per adult, walking into town for dinner is probably the more interesting option.

There's everything from Burger King and McDonalds to traditional Spanish fare.

We enjoyed enormous and very reasonably-priced three-course meals at Restaurant La Familia, as well as pinchos (tapas) at the traditional-feeling bar Lizarran, and small plates at the more modern Bo & Gola nearby.

Visiting in late February after a very warm, dry spell, the 130 miles of piste were nonetheless in good shape with very little closed.

Grandvalira is mainly made up of wide runs of varying steepness and few trees - fine if the sun's out as it was for us but visibility can be tricky in poor light.

Pas de la Casa is perhaps not the best resort for total beginners as the slopes back to the resort are fairly steep.

However it was also the most uncrowded area for much of the day, along with the pistes around the Antenes lift in neighbouring Grau Roig.

There is a range of eating places around the slopes ranging from fast food to a la carte dining.

The stand-out option being Refugi Llac dels Pessons which offers great food in a stunning location (you'll need to book for the main restaurant), as well as a simple snack bar and a terrace which serves oysters and champagne.

The main advantage of DIY travel is being able to suit yourself time-wise and not having to fit in to the tour operator's schedule, especially if you are planning a short trip.

You don't feel tied in to eating at your chalet every evening and are more likely to get out and explore the resort.

Disadvantages might include not having a rep to deal with any problems, having to sort any fall out from potential transport disruption rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it out, and having to queue to get your own lift pass.

Overall, it seems like a pretty good trade.

Pas de la Casa with Pierre et VacancesPas de la Casa with Pierre et Vacances

















Save 30% on ski breaks at Hotel Grand Pas Andorra with Pierre & Vacances

Hotel Grand Pas by Pierre & Vacances benefits from a perfect location in Pas de la Case in Andorra, only 50 m from the slopes of the Grandvalira ski resort.

The hotel benefits from a buffet restaurant, a bar, a spa and an indoor pool and sauna.

A seven-night self-catered stay at the Hotel Grand Pas Andorra in a double room, arriving 7 April 2019, is priced from £535 per room / £268pp (was £765 per apartment, saving 30%).

Flights and transfers extra.

For more information about Pierre & Vacances call 0870 0267 145 or visit

Andorra lift pass prices 2018/2019 season:

A six-day adult lift pass is priced from 280€ (£241)

A six-day child lift pass is priced from 188€ (£162)

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