Soldeu Village

Soldeu was until recently a farming village on either side of the busy main road CG2 that runs northeast-southwest through Andorra.

Skiing started here in 1924 and thanks to the Calbo family (who built the Esports Calbo hire shop, some of the restaurants, three of the Sport hotels and one of the lifts) the place has been transformed, and yet it still has a few old buildings reminiscent of the old Andorran Pyrenean style.

Soldeu is a convenient base from which to explore Grandvalira and with six 4-star hotels and a new 5-star hotel Soldeu is the most chic of the six village centres in Grandvalira, It's not as rowdy as Pas de la Casa but still offers a hectic après ski scene from 3:30pm until around 3:00 in the morning and yet is a good venue for families.

Where else to base your stay in Grandvalira? If there's no room for you in Soldeu's 4-star hotels there are plenty of hotels and hotel apartments in nearby resorts.

At 1,300m Encamp is the lowest of the six villages and is home to the 6,127m long Funitel gondola running up to Collada d'Enradort (a 15-minute ride) and the main ski area above Soldeu.

Next, some 200m higher up the valley at 1,500m is Canillo, with it's cable car to El Forn, a quiet crowd-free area good for families with small children and easy ski descents back to village level

El Tarter at 1,710m is a busy part of the ski area and a busy town with 1,800 outdoor and 350 indoor parking spaces (more than four times as many as Canillo or Soldeu) and a popular access point for day visitors to Grandvalira.

Further up, above Soldeu, there's just one hotel in Grau Roig (2,120m) and depending on your point of view this is a 'neither here, nor there' location between Soldeu and Pas de la Casa or a place of beauty with stunning mountain landscapes among one of the biggest of the six sectors that make up the Grandvalira with good off-piste.

Last, not but not least, is Pas de la Casa (2,100m) at the other end of Tunel D'Envalira and closest to the border with France. The first ski lift opened here in 1956, an initiative that transformed this corner of Andorra into a town with 3,000 permanent inhabitants and triple that number of hotel beds. A favourite of the 18-30 crowd and well known for its lagerful nightlife, the ski slopes here are predominantly red and black - families with young children and those not to mingle in a boozy singles après ski scene will be better off elsewhere in Andorra.