Ski and Spa trip in Andorra!

I`m writing this in what I temporarily call my office in Andorra, and as I write I have a glass of cava (courtesy of the hotel) and the most amazing view of the ski slopes of Soldeu, part of the Grandvalira complex, the largest complex of ski mountains in southern Europe.

Vista ruim pra trabalhar, não?

Terrible view from the office, right? 

 

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One of the streets of Grandvalira, with the mountains in the back

I have to admit that it is impossible not to be inspired by such a place. Andorra is an independent principality on the border of France and Spain, and is basically composed of Andorra – La Vella, the capital, a small town full of shops and restaurants (Andorra is a tax free country, which means that all shops are Duty Free – great for shopping), and the surrounding mountain complex with over 150 ski slopes that add up to 240 skiable km – there are options for all skill levels, tastes and ages.

 

Vista das montanhas após uma sessão de snowboard!

View of the mountains after some snowboarding (and a slightly sore butt!)

 

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One of the ski slopes of Soldeu, one of the sectors of the Grandvalira Complex in Andorra. This ones worked better for me.

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Grandvalira’s slopes complex offers several other activities to do alone or with the family. One of the most entertaining is the “Mushing“, which is the snow sled pulled by dogs. I believe that dogs by themselves are already amazing, so being taken on a ride in the snow at high speed by them is one of the coolest things I’ve done there. I highly recommend for all ages! You can choose to lead or take a ride, I chose to drive because I found it more fun!

 

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Mushing – Snow sled pulled by dogs. We all look happy here!

 

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My dogs enjoying the views from the top of the mountains!

Another cool activity for those who love adrenaline but are not so coordinated to ski – or simply want to taste something different – is to rent snowmobiles. Snowmobiles are like jet skis with skis that slide in the snow and at first it is good to take it slow because as the snow does not offer much friction, it is easy to go too fast and not be able brake in time. But they are easy to ride and the feel is wonderful, I loved it and recommend it!

 

Minha moto pronta para um passeio pela neve!

My motorcycle ready for a ride in the snow!

 

The view of the mountains from my snowmobile … Need I say more?

To speak about Andorra without saying a little about architecture and gastronomy would be a flaw. Typical mountain town, Andorra is made by stone buildings with wood and glass details (so you won`t miss the views!). A cozy and rustic yet elegant style that invites you to stroll through the city centers of the different ski resorts.

Lounge do Hotel Hermitage, típico estilo de arquitetura de montanha!

Hotel Hermitage Lounge area, typical mountain style!

 

Arquitetura aconchegante, pedra e madeira... Puro charme!

Cozy architecture, stone and wood… So charming!

When the cold is too much, Andorra offers thousands of excellent bars and restaurants. In the high season, a mandatory activity after a day in the mountains is to sit in one of the several terraced bars that overlooks the snow and have a beer to relax (or a wine, since being on the border between France and Spain, Good and affordable wines do not lack!).

 

Vista das montanhas com a cidade embaixo.

View of Grandvalira with the town in the valley between the mountains. Breathtaking!

One of the most popular bars is the terrace bar of the Hotel Hermitage, called Sol i Neu (sun and snow). With panoramic views of the mountains and next to the lifting of Soldeu, it is the scene of parties and performances by Dj`s to liven up the après ski.

 

Lounge do Bar Sol i Neu, ponto de encontro après ski para relaxar e tomar algo olhando as pistas

Bar Lounge Sol i Neu, meeting point après ski to relax and have a drink while looking at the slopes

 

Cervejinha pós ski com vistas para a neve!

Post ski beer with the view of the snow mountains!

The Sport Hotels Resort & Spa is the largest hotel complex in Andorra, with 3 hotels of different categories (all 4 and 5 stars) and a sensational Spa that I recommend! The Spa is free for those staying at the Hermitage, which is the 5-star hotel Gran Lujo, but those who stay in the others of the network pay a lower value and even those who do not stay with them can enter paying a fee that entitles 3: 30h of use of the Spa and the water circuit, besides a menu of aesthetic treatments available. A paradise for aching bodies after a snow experience! That’s what I was doing a few hours before I wrote this text, and I’ll leave some pictures here for you …

 

A piscina aquecida externa, com vista para as pistas de ski...

The outdoor heated pool, overlooking the ski slopes …

 

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Sunbathing while relaxing in the outdoor heated pool with the ski slopes in the back!

 

Circuito de águas

Water circuit

 

Os vários andares de Spa do Hermitage Sport Hotel & Spa

The various floors of the Hermitage Spa

 

Várias jacuzzis com vistas para a neve, cada uma com uma temperatura de água...

Jacuzzis with views of the snow, each with a different water temperature …

 

Piscinas aquecidas interna e externa - ao ar livre!

Indoor and outdoor heated pools

Last but not least, I could not not talk about … Food! Those who know me, they know I consider gastronomy a fundamental part of any trip. Eating well is a pleasure that combines perfectly with tourism and the Guiri Insider supports gastronomic tourism. A great option to combat the cold in Andorra is the Refugi Alpí`s fondue, in the center of Andorra – A Vella, with a good wine to accompany. In addition to the traditional cheese fondue, there is also meat, chocolate and the raclette, a Swiss specialty of melted cheese. This is one of my favourite places to have dinner, but at high season is better to reserve a table because the place can get booked.

 

Impossível resistir a um fondue de queijo com uma taça de vinho pra repor as energias depois de um dia de ski!

Impossible to resist a cheese fondue with a glass of wine to restore the energies after a day of skiing!

 

Andorra is about 2:30 hours by car from Barcelona, and it is a tour that I recommend, whether you are a sports person or not. With so many activities, there is no shortage of things to do. Shopping, good food and drinks, spas, hot springs, Andorra is a complete city that everybody will love!

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