Vallnord Travel Guide
Ski resort © girolame
Located high in the Pyrenees Mountains, Vallnord is one of Andorra's most popular ski holiday resorts, appealing to all kinds of holidaymakers and travellers. The diversity of pistes draws thousands of tourists each year, from experienced skiers to beginners and families looking for the ultimate in skiing holidays. With green, blue, red and black rated runs, skiers of all skill levels can enjoy the resort of Vallnord, and there are even ski schools for beginners and children keen on trying their hand at the sport.
Pal and Arinsal, which are linked by cable car, form part of the largest ski area in Vallnord, offering very different types of skiing terrain, while the Ordino-Arcalis Valley area in the extreme northeast is highly popular with experienced locals for its off-piste skiing. The summer months are also a great time to visit this mountainous resort, where other acitivites like mountain biking, horse riding and fly fishing are highly popular sports and Vallnord even hosted the Mountain Biking World Championships in 2009. Most holidaymakers who visit Vallnord generally stay in Arinsal, but the town of La Massana also makes a great base as the gondola to Pal is nearby and Arcalis is just a 20 minute drive away.
Like other ski resorts in Andorra, there are a few specialist shops, fashion boutiques and sports stores scattered throughout the town, but since Vallnord is located just 3 miles (5km) from the capital of La Vella, many keen shoppers choose to head through to this mountain town for a day of duty free shopping where items such as perfume, designer wears, electronic goods, alcohol and tobacco can be scooped up at bargain prices. With thousands of stores and boutiques, shopaholics can shop to their heart's content in one of the world's greatest shopping Meccas.
Food and drink in Vallnord is much cheaper that in any other European resorts, and it's not surprising that eating out is a favourite pastime while on holiday here. There is a huge array of restaurants to choose from, offering all kinds of fare, from Italian and Mexican to Chinese and French, visitors will not be disappointed. Many of the finest restaurants in Vallnord are located in the very swish hotels, but there are also plenty of other eateries to choose from catering to all kinds of tastes.
The après-ski in Vallnord is lively despite the resorts small size with favourites such as the Rocky Mountain Bar, Surf Bar and the plentiful English and Irish pubs provide the perfect environment for a great night out after a long day on the slopes. In Vallnord, food and especially drinks are much cheaper than in other parts of Europe, making it the perfect destination to begin a night out at a restaurant, before heading out for a night on the town at one of the resort's many clubs, discos and bars until the wee hours. L'Origen and El Pub de l'Hotel Magic in La Massana are two great options for a fun night out, while Bogart and El Cisco's in Arinsal are sure to heat things up. Pal is more laid back for those looking for a quieter holiday.
Vallnord offers more to holidaymakers than just a great variety of slopes to ski and snowboard on, but there are also activities like mountain bike trails, bungee jumping, horse trails, canyoning, quadbiking, fly fishing and hiking to enjoy, which are highly popular during the warmer summer months. During the winter months though, Vallnord's pistes are arguably some of the best in Western Europe and skiers of varying abilities from beginners to experienced will enjoy a day on the slopes.